In the next couple of years, my husband and I will have to decide whether to move to America or stay in Germany. If we move to America, we'd be in Berkeley, CA, where my family has its roots.
But, even though Northern California ranks as one of the most desirable places in the United States, I have my hesitations. Because of one thing that I, as an American, just can't get over: America is ugly.
I don't mean the landscape; the amber waves of geographical eye candy turn every tourist into a hobby photographer. I don't mean the people, either. I mean that daily life in America is ugly, the drabness that we face because the little oases of architectural and civic beauty are choked off by parking lots and freeways.
Take Berkeley, for instance. The legendary university town actually has a bayshore waterfront that boasts a million-dollar view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. If any European city were so blessed with this geography, without a doubt that waterfront would have been built into an appealing esplanade with cafes, boutiques, and tree-lined parks for the enjoyment of life. But we Americans? No. We built I-80 with 5 lanes of traffic in each direction.
I-80 Eastshore Freeway/Minesweeper, wikimedia commons.