- NPR (National Public Radio) - The best reporting on topics that are relevant (you know, unlike other news where I hear about the latest on Brangelina or how a stupid flag pin equals a presidential candidates patriotism). I listened to NPR every morning and evening on my commute and I am going to miss it - hopefully in Germany I will still be able to download podcasts. If you haven't listened to Fresh Air, you should check it out!
- The Cereal Aisle - I loooove sugary, food-dye enriched kids cereals. Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Coco Puffs... I could go on and on. Being quite indecisive, I often have to make my game plan before I get to the grocery store, or I could spend all day hemming and hawing over which cereal I will eat this week. I know my dog Che will really miss Honeycomb.
- Mexico and an Open Border - Yes, one of my favorite things about the US is its proximity to Mexico. I love the way the culture has mixed. I love Mexican food, Cinco de Mayo, cold Pacifco's with lime, Spanglish and Banda music. I love being able to go there easily and cheaply. I love that there are at least some people here that are fighting to make sure they can continue to come to the US cheaply and easily. I love Mexico and the the people in that country and I think I probably go through somewhat of a withdrawal living in Europe.
- The Southwest - from the the Grand Canyon to the Mojave to the Texas Panhandle, I love the desert of the Southwest. I love the dry heat (even when its 120 F), the cactus, the snakes, prairie dogs, red dirt and prehistoric origins. I hope through technology we can find more sustainable ways of living there, because I would love to find myself back in Phoenix again someday.
- Southern California - Really, do I need to explain? Beaches, In N Out, Fish Tacos, and the Lakers. I love it - even with the abundance of bleached hair, sprawling tract homes, bad traffic and fake boobs. Luckily, I think my family loves it as much as me and will never leave, so I will always get to visit.
- American Food - Diners - Greasy home fries, pancakes, Rootbeer (with LOTS of ice), malted milkshakes and artery clogging onion rings. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Pit BBQ, corn on the cob and baked beans. Convenience Stores - Super Big Gulps filled to the brim with ice and Dr. Pepper, stale donuts and beef jerky. It may all be horrible for you (and really good that I take a break from it for a while...) but it sure is goood.
- Idealism - Specifically, the ideal of Liberty that is entrenched in the country's beginnings and defines our culture. I am not one to get sentimental about our country's founding, I am far too realistic. But, when I visited the Liberty Bell this week and saw it in pictures with Suffragettes, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela I realized it represents exactly what this country is about. And as I visited the hall where Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and others gathered to debate exact what freedom would mean to this country I realized the only thing anyone really agreed on is that it would be a country of the people - and that it would be our duty to change the government whenever it ran afoul. Now that is what I love about America - and why I will be sending in my ballot from Germany in November.
Sadly, my lack of wearing a matching American Flag T-shirt on the fourth combined with my moving to Europe called my love of America into question in the eyes of some (but not really). So, like Obama's American Flag pin on his lapel, this is me proving my 'patriotism'.