Things I’ll Miss About the USA

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– Free refills for your soda
– Toads, snakes, salamanders, and the amazing insect life of the South
– Real bagels. Last I heard, there was only one bagelry in New Zealand, run by New Yorkers in Wellington.
– Cheap clothes, kitchenware, books, and magazines
– The free New York Review of Books at the Duke bookstore, an exotic luxury in New Zealand
– The American sandwich: toasted, with huge amounts of meat and a salad dressing to bind it all together
– The New York Times on a Sunday
– Good Southern fried chicken
– Texas ribs and Alabama barbecue
– American gumption and self-confidence
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– Free weekly papers, especially the Village Voice
– Baseball, mostly because everybody stands up and sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” at the seventh inning
– Fresh okra at the farmer’s market
– The omnipotence of the internet: Netflix, Bookmooch, Lala, Amazon, Half.com, Emusic, and all the other sites that only work or only work well in the USA
– The free zoo and museums in Washington D.C.
– Autumn in a deciduous forest
– Taquerías and other real Mexican food
– American breakfasts, especially waffles and pancakes
– Cheap gasoline (see also Things I Won’t Miss)
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– Effortless access to PDF articles and interlibrary loans at university libraries
– Bears, bison, and bald eagles
– Sticks of butter (although the butter itself is nasty)
– Seeing indie bands that will never come to the Antipodes
– Peaches and boiled peanuts from a roadside stall in Georgia
– Shops open almost all the time, including twenty-four-hour supermarkets
– Not needing a landline telephone
– Turning right on a red light
– A rodeo in rural Montana
– Thanksgiving, especially turkey
– Turtles
– Fireworks
– Squirrels
– Snow

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