Last time I lived outside the US, it was in Germany and I was 19-21 years old. It certainly wasn't the proverbial youthful backpacking through Europe or college semester abroad. I was wearing a tie every day (yes, even weekends), working 80 hours a week mostly in a foreign language and I only called home twice a year. Pretty much a kid jumping headfirst into adulthood. As much as that sounds like hell, it wasn't (most of the time). I cried when it was time to go home and take a much deserved break and go back to school.
Now I'm back across the pond working again but in a much different way. As an American with experience living abroad, I feel I've been acutely aware of what makes me different, and how I'm perceived here (that's not to say I don't also have lots in common with folks here). I sometimes think about the States and things I miss as well as things I wish were more like Europe. This morning on my walk to work, a thought popped into my head:
It doesn't get any better than America at its best (but only at its best).
Call me biased. But you better be an American living abroad to even argue with me.