I need to apologize to America.

Dear America:

Ever since we started going out almost a year ago, I’ve been doing a lot of bitching about you. I’m sorry, honey. In fact, I really love you. Sure, breaking up with another country and negotiating endless bureaucratic red tape for months and months to get set up with you was not pleasant. I still do marvel at the inefficiencies in your bureaucracies. But sweetheart, there is also so much I love about you.

And here they are, after the jump. Warning: I am going to make some possibly unfair positive racial stereotypes in the upcoming list. I apologize.

1. The climate where I’m living. All winter people complained about how uncharacteristically cold it was this year. I laughed gaily. “Cold?”  I said. “You call this winter??” I shovelled once, and it was just an inch of ice. Yet my son’s school day got cancelled three times. Oh how we laughed.

2. Closet space. My God do you Americans love your closet space. I have empty closets in this house! Cupboard doors and built-in cabinets that have never been touched. In my house in Toronto, I didn’t have a single closet on the main floor. How I love America’s love of storage space.

3. The people. Americans get such a bad rap for being loud and obnoxious. In fact, they are some of the kindest, sweetest, most generous and thoughtful people I have ever known. They are friendly as hell, are always happy to chat, and make great neighbours. I have actually never met an American who fits that dumb stereotype. Almost every day I end up in conversation with someone on the subway or at the supermarket, and African-American women in particular are so fantastic about telling virtual strangers that they like their shoes, their dress, their purse, and then you’ll start exchanging information about where you got stuff and how much it cost. Americans are some of the nicest people on Earth.

4. Further to this, African-American sales clerks and/or service people. They have saved my sanity. My theory is this: They are accustomed to being fucked over by the establishment. So when they see you getting fucked over, they’re the first to tip you off. It was a black Verizon serviceman, the only one after two white guys showed up and insisted my DSL problems were due to the modem and just handed me a new one that fixed nothing, who told me Verizon was lying through their teeth. He actually rolled his eyes and said: “They ALWAYS say it’s the modem. It’s not the modem, trust me” and told me to go to Comcast because my problems would never subside. It was my African-American bank manager, Jimmie Jackson, who pulled me aside and whispered: “Don’t listen to them. Don’t take out a bank loan out here to build up your line of credit. That’s crazy! Walk down the street to the Bank of America and get a secured Visa. But don’t tell them I told you that!” And it was an awesome woman at Macy’s, after many unsuccessful attempts, who convinced them to up my card limit from $250 to $1,000 and is now working on getting me a Macy’s VISA. “That’s bullshit,” she said when I explained my plight, and soon fixed it for me when others didn’t even try.  I recognize this might have had nothing to do with their race; however, I do notice a tendency among African-Americans to side with the little guy and distrust the big corporate entity, which I love and admire.

5. All the Spanish. I swear I see more Spanish here than I saw French in Canada. And I love it. I learn new words all the time just by reading labels and signs and listening to little kids talk (why is it that it’s always easier to understand a foreign language when little kids are speaking it?) I have always wanted to learn a bit of Spanish, and even though I’d be too chicken to speak it, I find I can pick little things out now when I hear people chatting.

6. The fast food. Yes, it’s a fast food nation, but some of that food is awesome. Baja Fresh, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A — so delicious. And I’m sorry, but there is nothing quite like Popeye’s Fried Chicken. I eat it once every two months, because if I let myself eat it more often than that, I would want it every day and would become an enormous cow. My God that’s stuff good with those fluffy biscuits!

7. This is totally related to where I live, but I cannot get enough of the lush flora and fauna and all the beautiful neighbourhoods.  I have never seen so many beautiful trees and mosses and flowering shrubs and cascading blooms and hanging vines (Like that wisteria up there! How gorgeous is that!!), and so many pretty clapboard houses and colonials and Cape Cods tucked in among the lush greenery. It is just so pretty here, and it’s been the most surprising thing to me about moving stateside. I always viewed Canada as being a wilderness wonderland that no country could possibly compete with, but I have to say that where I am living is every bit as beautiful and wild and lovely. With just a taste of strange southern foliage that makes it really exotic and even more lovely to these northern eyes. And in this part of America, anyway, they really do suburbs right, building the houses around the forests, and not cutting trees down all over the place.

So you see, America, I really do love you. You are beautiful, kind and generous and a great cook and gardener. I am hoping we have a long and successful relationship!

With all my love, Trixie