12 Years In the USA, 12 Reasons I Love Here

Last Saturday was my 12-year anniversary of moving to the US. Microsoft brought me here. Contrary to a lot of immigrants, while in Brazil, I never felt the need to move to the US. It actually never crossed my mind to move here. But once an amazing job opportunity presented itself, I took it and here I am. There are lots of pros and cons of living in the US, and lots of pros and cons of being an immigrant, but for now I just want to enumerate twelve reasons I think the US is great (for me) in no particular order:

#1 English Language: My first language is Portuguese, but we Brazilians learn (bad) English at school since the first grade until the end of high-school. English is a great language because contrary to Romance languages (Portuguese, French, Italian, etc.) the syntax is very simple. But the most interesting thing about English is not the language itself, but the cultural tolerance Americans have to adapt the English language. Fax and Email can be used as verbs, so can Google. In Portuguese that would never happen. Scholars, professors and politicians hate new words (like the French) and they don’t want the language to change. English is flexible and adaptive to the existing culture.

#2 Diversity: My view of the US is the view from Seattle, a hot pot of culture and races. If you go to a mall and listen attentively, you’ll hear at least a dozen different languages being spoken. With that diversity, not only comes a feeling of how small this world is, but also the diversity in food, which brings me to my next point…

#3 BigMac & Foie Gras: Yes, I confess: I love BigMac. I also love Foie Gras, Salmon, Lamb, Sashimi, and every kind of food. If you go to the supermarket here you can find pretty much everything. And if there is something you want that you can’t find at your QFC or Whole Foods, there’s certainly a boutique market with it. The restaurants are also amazing.

#4 Money is clean: By that I mean “money” is not a dirty word. If you are an American you might not realize this, but a lot of other places in the word people feel somewhat ashamed of having too much money, because money is associated with corruption, cheating or unethical behaviors. 

#5 Accountability & Meritocracy: I don’t think there is any society anywhere else in the world that treats meritocracy as seriously as the US. It’s not perfect, but there is a feeling that performance-based rewards are the right thing. With that comes accountability, in other words, you’re responsible for your actions, good or bad. There is a lot of injustice and criminals in the US, but check out the rest of the world. It’s a lot worse.

#6 Hollywood: You actually don’t have to live in the US to enjoy the amazing (and awful) movies produced by Hollywood. Movies can move mountains. They can change cultures. They can affect the course of history and bring awareness to causes (think “Rwanda”).

#7 Pro Sports: The US is the strongest force in professional sports in the world (except for Soccer). It starts by giving opportunities to those kids who have the potential, sprinkle the sponsorship and support structure, and year after year there is a wave of amazing athletes making it. 

#8 Shiny Objects: It’s a culture of consumption and innovation that brings the coolest products to market at an accessible price. All the electronics, shiny cars, video games, boats, and whatever you crave is available for you…

#9 Access to Capital: Whether you want to buy a house, a car, a new digital camera or open a business, there is no other place in the world with this kind of access to capital. From credit cards to home loans, from car loans to business financing, the capital industry is in place and functions pretty well. It certainly could be better.

#10 Entrepreneurship: Being an entrepreneur in the US is a great thing. I actually know a lot of people who moved to the US because they wanted to establish their own business, and there was no better place in the world. There is no other country that has produced as many innovations and fantastic companies as the US has. World-wide people use Microsoft Windows, Google search, Yahoo mail, Apple iPods, use the vaccines and medicine produced by Pfizer and Merck, fly on Boeing 777, use printers by Hewlett-Packard and computers by Dell, and use the diapers, detergent and toilet papers of Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson. 

#11 Visa, Green Card & Citizenship: You hear the news of all the illegal immigrants moving into the US, but you never hear about all the legal immigrants coming here from all over the world to work on the high-tech industry, or to study, or to do science research and a lot more. The US is actually a pretty friendly country to immigrants, IMO, if you’re bringing value here — as it should be.

#12 Opportunity: It’s true! The US is the land of opportunity. The opportunity to be the best you can be. From having a career and climbing the corporate latter to opening your own business, from working on scientific research to have a mid-life change of heart and decide to become a painter. You have the opportunity here like nowhere else. And that is exactly the most important reason for me to be living here.

So, thanks Uncle Sam for allowing me to live here.

Marcelo Calbucci

Marcelo Calbucci

I'm a technologist, founder, geek, author, and a runner.