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What America Got Absolutely Right

Emelie Beckman, C'25

Technically not a coffee shop, but ice cream is close enough

This isn’t a very complicated blog. In this one, I will just outline the things I think America got absolutely right, despite all the wrongs and despite how Sweden got a whole lot right too. I just want to take this moment to highlight things that have struck me as a non-American.

1. Coffee shops and/or cute lunch places

Of course, cafes and bakeries in Europe are amazing but the Americans got something very right with their small, fruity coffee shops. Stepping into a new building in a new town and experiencing every place’s niche atmosphere. One of my favorite ones in Frederick called Dublin Roster’s offers a great selection of caffeinated beverages, the fuel of my life, and the vibes are just another serve. I was at a new one though last week, called Gravel and Grind and it was really cool since it combined a coffee shop and a bike/camper store. After finishing my cappuccino to the company of a free-spirited barista, I could look at camper gear and fill my little hiker heart.

2. Applicator tampons

I mentioned my initial confusion about applicator tampons in my first blog. But after being here for a year and a half I can say that the Americans did amazing by having just these available in stores. Otherwise, I would never have experienced the greatness of this convenience. On the other hand, it is probably a great waste of resources and bad for the environment, but whatever. Some people drive their car for a ten-minute walk. I think I can afford myself the luxury of these tampons.

3. Small talk

Americans know how to small talk, and of course, it can, like all small talk all over the world, feel awkward or fake. But sometimes you have to really appreciate it. Additionally, I feel like maybe Americans can small talk and at the same time mean it. In Sweden on the other hand, while small talking, you just say something because you know it's the right thing to say in that moment and not because you're always genuinely interested.

4. Water bottle culture

Now don't get me wrong, we use water bottles in Sweden, but growing up I never felt like It was something you always carried with you. Here on the other hand everyone is always bringing their water bottles with them and I love it. It’s something you didn’t really think about in Sweden but here it seems so normal, which makes it really easy to stay hydrated.

5. Literature

There is not too much to add to it. America has given the world some of the best writers in history, and as an English major of course I am going to mention it. Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Ernest Hemingway, to only name a few.

Swedish Lesson of the day:

Tampon - tampong

Small talk - små prat (små = small, prat = talk)

Do you want to go and get coffee? - Vill du gå och ta kaffe?

American literature is really good - Amerikansk literatur är väldigt bra

Emelie Beckman, C'25