One of the first things an expat does (in modern times) is to search for expat websites and forums. Before I moved to Madrid I found such a site in NotesFromSpain.com. Run by an Englishman and his madrileña wife, the page offers everything from advice on moving and restaurant reviews to Spanish lessons and podcasts. Recently they've posted some Top 10 lists. The first was the Top 10 Rants about Spain; to be fair they followed with the same list about England. And they've wrapped it up with the Top 10 Best things about Spain. All of this got me to thinking. What would be my list of the Top 10 Best things about the States? I've put this list together in just a few hours, but what comes to mind first is probably an accurate representation of my feelings. I'm going to work on a similar list for Spain. In the meantime, let me know if you agree about the States...
- Massive, well-stocked supermarkets. There isn't a single store in Spain that can hold a candle to a top-notch American grocery store in terms of variety, quality, and service.
- The customer is always right. Well, almost always, but even that is a major bonus.
- Great Smokey Mountains National Park
- Well-funded suburban high schools. Gorgeous, university-like campuses, swimming pools, tennis courts, running trails. You get the picture.
- Entire neighborhoods filled with holiday light displays worthy of the cover of Good Housekeeping.
- The loss-of-innocence, freedom-finding, move-away-from-home college experience. (And I'll throw live college sports in there for good measure.)
- Happy Hour
- The efficient, inexpensive, and friendly postal service.
- People who wear the American flag. When you're there it screams tackiness but once you've lived abroad you realize that such a display of patriotism isn't to be found everywhere.
What do you think?