Travel

10 reasons why this Brit loves America

There are several things that've perplexed me about America in the (almost) two years since I moved here from the UK. Why are Americans allowed to drive cars at 16, but not drink until 21? Why does Walmart sell guns? Why do I have to tip everyone for everything? And don't even get me started on healthcare...

But that's not what this is article is about. No, this one's about all the reasons there are to love this country, even if it's not my own; here are the 10 things I love most about the US.

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1. The food
Okay, so I don't love Hungry Man dinners. But I do love real American food -- especially holiday-themed eats, like hot dogs on July 4th and sweet potatoes with marshmallows on Thanksgiving.

2. People are patriotic
Speaking of holidays... while Americans may get fewer paid vacation days compared to other countries, at least you get a ton of patriotic holidays to dress up in red, white, and blue. And though an American flag on every corner might seem odd to a European, there is a real sense of patriotism here that brings people together.

3. There's a proper sport culture
Sure, people are HUGELY into football (or, as you call it, "soccer") back home, but here, being a diehard sports fan doesn't always mean being a complete jackass. (Of course, there are exceptions). But where, in the UK, fans get into brawls when their teams lose (or win), American sports fans seem more jovial. For example, they enjoy lighting things on fire when their teams win championships.

Then again, I've admittedly never attended an SEC football game. That said, you have cheerleaders. People paint their faces to show team spirit. And at basketball games, the corny music I thought was only in movies is actually played. I can't imagine growing up in this country and not caring about any sport.

4. Pharmacies aren't just pharmacies
In the UK, you can't get much more than a prescription at the pharmacy. At the local Rite Aid, I can get everything from Pepto Bismol, to groceries, to household and gardening supplies. Not to mention all the Danielle Steele novels your heart desires. You know, if I was into Danielle Steele and all. 

5. Your transportation is cheap
Though you might be waiting for what seems like an eternity for the express train to arrive (at least, in NYC), transport is a hell of a lot cheaper than it is in London --  plus, it's 24-hour, which means, on your way back from that bar you just felt like leaving at 4am, you won't have to cough up money for a taxi. 

6. People are more talkative
This mostly applies, again, to the subway, where people aren't afraid to talk to each other. Whereas, on the London Underground... it's so quiet. Shhhhh...

7. You have Trader Joe's
Ah, Trader Joe's, the mecca of all things delicious, cheap, and cheerful, where you can have your kale chips and eat them, too. While waiting to pay can seem an eternity, I can think of no UK equivalent to TJ's. Also, everyone wears Hawaiian shirts and seems happy about it. 

8. You put peanut butter in/on everything
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the norm. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups exist. A peanut butter burger won't startle you if you read it on a pub menu. You even put peanut butter in cereal bars. And no one will shame you for eating peanut butter straight from the jar. Well, in public they might...

9. You do brunch -- properly
Nothing really beats brunch on Sunday. And while not expressly an American custom, the genius breakfast/lunch combo trumps any rule that says you can't enjoy a cheeseburger for breakfast. Also, the word "mimosa" is infinitely more fun to say than "bucks fizz", the British equivalent.

10. Bars stay open late 
Going out can be a nightmare in the UK, where most pubs close by 11pm to avoid boisterous crowds spilling onto the streets late night, disturbing village elders and parish council members. Here, when you go out, you stay out. There are even parties on weekday mornings.


Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. The most American thing she’s ever done is go to WalMart at 2am for a Choco Taco. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.