Thursday, 5 July 2012

My American Crush

I don't know if Americans are aware, of if they even feel the same, but when you're Australian born and bred, it's hugely politically incorrect to love the USA.

Sure you can holiday there, and you can have a good time. But when you return, you must have a couple of 'stupid american' stories, a couple of "australia does this better" comparisons and you must promise sincerely that "It was fun, but you could just never ever LIVE there"

Just quietly, I don't really feel that way.

I've never been very patriotic about my own country. Not that I hate it, of course not, this is a wonderful place to live and I wouldn't have given up my childhood here for anything, but I'm well aware that the world is a big place, and I'm not ready to claim 'greatest place on earth' just yet. Not without seeing everywhere else first. And I'm also aware enough to know there are things about my motherland that make my blood boil, and damage it's 'greatest place on earth' ranking. Namely, our track record with our indigenous people, our appalling attitude towards refugees, the lack of legalised gay marriage and the inherent racism that still permeates our society outside the centre of our major cities.

So when I came to visit the States, I wasn't prepared to apologise for liking it so much.

The list of things I've loved is ridiculously long, but the revised version is as follows:

1. Macaroni and cheese is a valid meal, and one people make from scratch, using actual recipes. In Australia mac and cheese is a microwaved instant meal. It's on the same level as 2-minute noodles, and you should feel insanely guilty for eating it...and you may as well end it now if you feed it to your kids. I love mac and cheese. I'm all for legitimizing it.

2 Thanks Giving. Whatever criticisms one might have of the US, you cannot argue with Thanks Giving. I think it's a lovely tradition. One day I really want to make Turkey and sides from scratch and have my whole family together with the sole purpose of celebrating what we're grateful for. What a lovely thought. Thanksgiving doesnt exist in Australia, and Christmas is in the middle of summer, so it's waaaay to hot to eat roasted turkeyness. I'm thinking a Thanksgiving in July, when it's cold and rainy and we all need some comfort food.

3. Almost limitless cities to explore. Australia has two worth living in, and a handful you could consider as a second choice. Sydney and Melbourne are it. I'm in Sydney. I've lived in Melbourne and Brisbane too, and visited Adelaide and Perth. Theyre nothing special. I was bored after a week.
In the states, I could go to a different city every week and in a year I would still be discovering and learning new stuff. The cities I visited in the month I was there were all completely unique, and I was enamoured with every single one.

In conclusion, I left my poor heart behind in New Orleans. It yearns to be back there more than any city I've ever been to.
I still crave the sun in Miami. Australian sun stings in summer. It burns through your skin in just a few minutes. In Miami the sun warms you to the core, but you never burn. It's blissful. And the people are beautiful, bouncy, shiny things.

San Francisco treated me good. Wanted me to read, write and paint. Wanted me choose discerningly what cocktails to drink, sourdough to buy and wanted me to lean Juliette style out of the fire escape of my dollshouse terrace and be courted by an artist. And San Francisco definately wanted me to buy a puppy.

And New York. New York. He's like an enourmous old chandelier. It shines so damn bright that it's dazzling, and all you want to do is get amongst. The city never sleeps because nobody in it wants to miss a single second of it's sparkle. And the grime and the flaws only make me love it more. The same way I'm drawn to antiques with cracks and fading plaster, the Bronx, the darkness in Harlem, the graffitti in the subway call to me.

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