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You know that friend who spent an extended period of time in Europe and now finds that nothing here is as good as it was across the Atlantic? “It’s so much better over there…I don’t know why exactly but it just is…. You have to go.” I am that friend – but about America.
I grew up in a small town in Canada. Through some minor athletic skill, I ended up going to college in upstate New York. I found myself at lacrosse parties and frat parties alike, and it wasn’t long until I was wearing letters myself. I dove head-first into the American experience, and I still haven’t found my way back to the surface. Four short years went by and all of a sudden I was driving everything I owned back over the border. Unable to secure a Visa, I was forced to leave the life I loved behind.
After graduation, I spent at least six months being insufferable. I told college stories all the time. When we were out to dinner I would say things like “If we were in America this drink would be half the price” and my go-to gem “Everything is just more fun there.” I even referred to my American friends like they were the California of people. Shout out to my friends and family for suffering through that, and sorry but I still kind of think America is the best. Here is why:
1) In the USA, college is a lifestyle.
From what I’ve gathered, going to school in Canada is just something you do while continuing with your everyday life. In America, I got to take four years off from real life to live in the bubble that is college, and I was treated that way. I was not judged for ordering a pitcher of water to myself when I went out for breakfast — I was in college. The world ceased to exist outside of my small college town, and that was completely expected. It was when I came home for breaks that I realized this wasn’t okay everywhere else. “College student” is only a type of person in the US. Everywhere else you are just somebody who is in school. I long for a country that not only accepts, but celebrates bad decisions and low-key alcoholism and calls it ‘going to college.’
2) It is the land of opportunity.
This never set in for me until I graduated. I studied music business — while I was in school I had several internships in California, and I made valuable industry connections. I moved back home to find that not only was this industry virtually non-existent, it was next to impossible to find an “in.” I watched my friends with the same degrees and same experience as me get jobs that were only a stone’s throw away from their dream jobs.
Don’t assume that I don’t put in the effort – I moved to our entertainment capital and I grinded my way into a job at a film studio. I’m constantly checking job boards and find nothing. And just as a sick joke, I check the American postings and I find so many amazing jobs that are only a Green Card away.
3) Climate choices.
This is something you Americans take for granted. Basically every livable climate can be found in the USA. If you want something mild and temperate, hit up Portland or Seattle. A little warmer? Go to California. If snow is your thing, almost every northern state has got you covered, not to mention Alaska. If you’re into sweating through your clothes you could try Florida. And that is only to name a few.
I find myself in discussions with friends who are deciding whether or not to take a job in Texas, or if they should move to Boston. These conversations simply don’t happen here. There is snow across the board and every year is colder than the last.
4) Everything really is more fun.
This is the one that bothers people when I say it. I think it’s because I have such a hard time explaining it. A bunch of minor details add up to make a major difference, and this is the best I can do:
Everything in America is geared towards being able to have the most fun possible. Bars are open later, there are cities with no open container laws (looking at you, NOLA), and every minor holiday is a massive celebration. Cinco de Mayo for example, one of the best party experiences I have ever had, is not a thing here. People just don’t care and it’s heartbreaking.
Or take the laws that allow for bottomless mimosas. I have been on a mission to find a menu with this anywhere in Canada and every time I think I’ve found it I get blue-balled. Yes, an endless supply of alcoholic drinks with breakfast may not be the healthiest choice, BUT WHO CARES. Let me do this to myself.
Alcohol in Canada is strictly regulated by the government. There is a chain of designated liquor stores and a chain of designated beer stores. Just this year, in 20-fucking-16, did they make beer available in the grocery store. This monopoly makes alcohol way more expensive, which is kind of genius on their part because it’s not like were going to stop buying it.
Also, there are more people in America, and thus more things happening. I am a huge music nerd and throughout this whole country there are a select number of venues that attract decent acts. Drive over the border and there are dozens of concerts worth seeing on any given weekend in any given city.
I recently went to a concert at SPAC in upstate New York where we brought our own alcohol and tailgated with a bunch of other degenerates in a parking lot close by. It’s safe to say that this would NEVER happen in Canada. I spent a lot of the time watching out for cops because it felt so illegal to me.
To sum up my Canadian perspective of America: there is always something going on, it’s bigger, it’s better, and you are allowed to enjoy it to the fullest. This is why America is more fun.
If you ask me, America is the perfect place to be young and educated and possessing only minor responsibilities. I am all of those things. I could contribute some decent things to society, c’mon.
I would never give up my Canadian citizenship. Canada was my first love, but I’ve moved on. I don’t want a passport, just a Green Card.
So if anybody is interested in a two-year marriage….
[Image via Unsplash]