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I am not some flag waving, shotgun shooting, political nut, but I do love America.

When I was ten years old, I went on a road trip to Bath, South Carolina. We traveled through all the southern states in a green minivan to get there. It was the summer time, and thank the car gods for air conditioning. I slept through Arizona and New Mexico, but I started looking out the window around Texas. Texas was flat for the most part, but as we kept going the scenery changed, and the weather was different. Instead of desert for miles on end, full green trees and grass began to cover the sides of the roads we passed. It was still hot, but a different kind of hot. It was the first time I had ever been out of California, so humidity hot was something new to me. Instead of feeling like I was baking in the sun, it felt like someone had wrapped a steaming hot towel around my whole body.

The culture changed as well. Most of the places we stopped at in the beginning of our trip had Native American themes, with dream catchers and beaded bracelets. As we got more into Mississippi and Alabama the tourist shops would sell religious CDs and homemade jam. The food was less spicy and hot, becoming more savory and sweet.

Once we got to Bath I experienced things I had never come across in California. Naturally we didn’t remain in just Bath for the whole month, we traveled to neighboring towns too. It was the first time I had seen clear, warm ocean water. The first time I ever saw a Victorian garden. The first time I saw someone pay at a restaurant with a personal check. And then there were the bugs. I had never seen that many bugs in my life.

On the way back, we went through all the middle states. We stopped much less often, but what I remember most is the orangeness of Utah. One stop we did make closer to home was at waterfall. I can’t remember what state, but I know we weren’t that far from California. It was right off the highway, and came down into an aqua blue lake or river where people were kayaking. It was a hot day, and I remember sticking my feet into the cold water.

When I moved to New York, I took the train across the country. Sitting for three days was rough, but worth it to see more of the country. I haven’t been everywhere in the states, but to add to my list of places I’ve been: Orlando, Florida, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Chicago, Illinois.

It’s not to say I wouldn’t love anywhere else I live. The only other country I have visited so far was Italy, which was beautiful. I am just taking the time to appreciate the land of the free, and the home of the brave at this time of year. All these different things, people, cultures all rolled up into the millions of American Dreams is to say the least, inspiring. From what I have seen of my country, it is diverse in all its beauties.

Besides my many other goals in life, one would be that I live long enough to see America’s 300th birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

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