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Cape Verdeans have an illustrious sentiment toward the United States. They put the United States on a pedestal, the top nation for opportunity and growth. A nation that they can live in and have a good life. A nation of prosperity, a nation of change. Our Language instructor here and our Tour Guide both lived in the United States for some time. Both want to go back. They hear the stories of their family members abroad and mention their desire to return to the good ole USA. I see their glorious, unshakeable admiration for the United States.

I love the United States of America. I am a proud patriot through thick and thin. The country opened up their arms to my family and gave me more opportunities than I could ever dream of compared to their home countries.  But I am not blind to the fact that this country has many issues that cannot be ignored. I criticize my country because I want it to be a better, stronger country that makes you proud on the local and international stage.

There is a lot wrong with the United States and a lot more work to do. I see the migrant detention camps, the gun violence, the inequalities, the expensive healthcare, and other concerns that plague our country. Compared to some statistics among other first world nations, I feel like we are falling behind. We are a country going in the wrong direction. The average American and their standard of living does not seem up to par compared to other developed countries. Many Cape Verdeans and other countries do not see or hear these issues that go on in the States. If they knew the concerns maybe they would look at it the country differently.

Then I look around me and I see the average Cape Verdean compared to an average American and I can see the reasons for their praise and willingness to move. Cape Verde has a large drought issue, while most of the United States has a significant water supply. Water in the United States for the most part is clean and safe to drink, which cannot be said for Cape Verdean water. Americans throw their dirty clothes in the washing machine, while locals here wash by hand. Many houses are in the process of being built but take years to finish as the owners save enough money to continue modeling the home. Meanwhile, most American houses  are built and completed with all the infrastructure needed before people live in the home. Cape Verdeans often have side hustles to survive. While this may be true for some Americans, many Americans can live decently without side hustles.

Cape Verdeans often times can move to the United States, work hard, and provide for their families back home, like many fellow Latin American families do today.  Life is tough and can be exhausting at times. They see the good and realize that the good vastly outweighs the bad in many cases. The clothing, items, and technology is often imported from the United States, so moving there can directly lower the costs to send back home for resources.

Many times in the United States we take basic life aspects for granted. I now look at the United States and count my blessings and appreciate many items that I originally took for granted.  We see the differences between countries and we can learn a lot from each other. But Cape Verdeans have reminded me why I am lucky to be an American.