Happy America day! I’m writing this under a sky that’s uncharacteristically cloudy for the week of July 4. But despite the gloomy weather, my heart is full. Even though I often dream of running away to travel the world, I am so grateful that I will always have a wonderful home to come back to. America, you have shaped me in everything that I am. I’m proud to celebrate the land of the free today.
I also have some fun news to share! One of my blog posts, What I learned from traveling alone, will be published in an anthology called Minnesota’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction by Z Publishing. The anthology will be released in late August, so I’ll keep you all updated!
I’m excited about this opportunity mainly because, as an English major at university, I constantly heard about writers and publications and submissions. It’s a complicated, and very competitive, world—and I was afraid of it.
I enjoy reading an online literary magazine called Strange Horizons. I am always blown away by the skill and depth of the writing that is published in the magazine, and I always thought to myself, I could never do that. But now a small bit of my writing is being published, and it feels like a step closer to something I never even allowed myself to dream of.
I know that I have a long way to go in my writing, but working on this blog has helped me become so much more confident as a writer. I want to encourage you—if you have a goal, whether it’s to become a published author, to finish a difficult degree, to have a certain type of career—don’t give up on it! With commitment and hard work, you can do anything you set your mind to.
In honor of the Fourth of July holiday, I wanted to write about why I’m thankful for where I’m from. So without further ado, here are my top five favorite things about the US.
1) The cities
Europe has beautiful cities—I love places like London and Amsterdam far more than New York—but when I was in Norwich, I missed the skyscrapers and bustle of Minneapolis. American cities are modern and sprawling and tall and colorful and sometimes gritty. There is always something happening in the city.
2) The entertainment
While the entertainment industry is worldwide, and there are so many great examples of foreign films, even when I lived in England almost all the movies that I saw at the cinema came from America. Hollywood is a massive, worldwide center for filmmaking. Foreign actors and musicians move to LA to be closer to the action. Studios like Disney and Pixar, which have produced many greatly loved films, are from America. Even Minneapolis has its own large pocket of independent filmmakers. I think the variety and breadth of entertainment here speaks to our creativity and ingenuity. Not to say that other countries lack those things—every place has its own flavor of art and culture to offer—but I’m glad to have had the artistic influence of American entertainment woven throughout my life.
3) The diversity of thought
I know that politics in America have gotten a pretty bad rap, and I usually try to avoid the topic, but I’m grateful to live in a place where people can voice their opinions. If you disagree with something a leader is doing, you don’t have to stay silent about it. I’ve been in some places or situations where I felt that my perspective and beliefs were not welcome, but at home, in general, I feel comfortable having conversations about important topics with friends whose views differ from mine, and we don’t think less of each other because of it. I’ve learned a lot from those conversations, so I’m glad that they are able to happen between people who are coming from very different but equally validated points of view.
4) State cultures
People in America almost identify more as a part of their state than as a part of the country as a whole. For example, I am 100% Minnesotan. Even the landscape here feels like home. Minnesotans are passive aggressive. They smile at strangers. They make hotdish (not casserole) and can survive -20°F days. My sister was living in Florida and could tell another Minnesotan just because there was something familiar about their voice.
5) The expansiveness
Sometimes I am not thankful for this, like when I have to drive twelve hours through Montana. But America has a LOT of space, and big sections of it have been set aside as National Parks for people to enjoy. For example: Yellowstone National Park, where you can drive, camp, hike, and see buffalo and geysers, is only the eight largest national park in the US, and it’s 2500 square miles larger than the Lake District, the second largest national park in the UK.
America spans six time zones. It has such a range of environments and ecosystems, from desert to mountain to tundra to forest to prairie to tropical, and there are unique historical and environmental sites in each of them. There are states with all the seasons and states with everlasting summer. States where the sun doesn’t go down for weeks. This vastness also provides the perfect opportunity for in-country road trips that are days or weeks long. Am I bragging? Just a tiny bit. 🙂
What do you love about your home country?