While I was in the States, I had occasion to reflect upon the things I missed about America. I was surprised to find that there were more than I had expected (none, excluding family and friends). In the order in which I wrote them down, here are the four most important ones.
Cappuccinos. By which I mean the drink made with espresso and the froth of steamed milk. You do not get extra points for putting in the steamed milk as well, England. You get a latte. Don't misunderstand me, I love a latte and will happily drink one - when that's what I've ordered. (I'll still drink a latte when I haven't ordered one, just a bit crankily.) Until England at large sorts this out, may the gods continue to smile upon the fortunes of Monmouth Coffee Company. Sadly, I can't go to Borough Market or Covent Garden every day just to get a cappuccino, but it's nice to know that they're there.
Sugar. Boy howdy do we Americans have sweet teeth or what? We know how to make puddings, and even things that are not puddings seem like they are. I introduced the bloke to the Monte Cristo sandwich, which I explained as the invention of someone who couldn't decide if they wanted French toast or a ham and cheese sandwich, so they had both, and then stuck in some turkey for the hell of it. He thought it was dreadful and commented at length to this effect, verbally and via interesting facial expressions, while he polished it off. Which is why you can't eat too much of our cuisine or you start to look like...well, an American.
Friendliness. Gosh, we're nice. I walked around our campsite at Yellowstone holding a bottle of wine for all of thirty seconds before the woman in the adjacent site asked, "Do you need a corkscrew, hon?" And then there was the man who stopped us so we could get a good look at the family of marmots without frightening them off, and the people who told us (with reference to a map and terribly specific directions) where to find a wolf pack, and the barman in Bozeman, Montana who stopped charging us for drinks three hours before the bar shut, and all this just for smiling and saying hello. Dammit, we're nice, and if that makes us seem a bit simple to you grumpy sophisticated Brits, well, so be it. I like us for being that way and I don't think we should stop.
Our land. There's so much of it and it's so wild and beautiful it makes me all choked up even when I'm tearing down the freeway at 90 mph. Granted, we didn't do anything to deserve it other than displace a bunch of native people rather rudely. But as the bloke pointed out, we've tamed it enough that it's totally accessible by car on wide comfortable roads so that even the fattest, wheeziest one of us, as well as foreigners who scarcely know enough English to be able to read our road signs, can appreciate the grandeur of the Tetons or the dizzying dropoffs of the Grand Canyon. That took some doing by the slimmer, more motivated among us and it was a monumental task. It's something to be proud of.