Sometimes on this blog I can paint myself into corners in your eyes where I'm simultaneously an American-bashing Kiwi who should go home and an NZ-hating traitor who wouldn't be welcome back.
The irony is not lost on me, and there're other factors and overreactions at play, but there's a strange modicum of truth in this.
Because America can prompt two independent and equally valid yet completely divergent responses from me when I consider my pending immigration application.
I don't know if one country can ever only prompt one separate emotion from us - can it?
Mostly, I try to focus on how there're a lot of really great things about American life.
As a journalist, there's more opportunity here. It's a tough climate globally for all media outlets, and there are a lot of layoffs going around here still. But there's a lot of hiring going on. And with such a large market, there is an incredible breadth of publications: from websites and blogs, through to the independent street press going free on street corners each week, to city-specific major magazines, national titles, niche titles, business news, community news, and dozens of mid-size and major metropolitan titles. Every type and every form and every brand and ideology of journalism is serviced extensively. There's also a boatload of media innovation.
It's all very good to be around. And for a freelance journalist, there're always stories to be found.
America is exciting. There's a lot to it. I'm excited to live in San Francisco - for the museums, the concerts, the book and record shops, the history, the pace, the culture and the counterculture. I'm looking forward to living in driving distance of Los Angeles. Maybe I'll even make my first trip to Coachella.
There's a self-belief and a work ethic around in America, a respect for success and for reaching up and toward the stratosphere. In pockets of the country an incredible culture of knowledge and history of discovery manifests itself in places such as Stanford and Palo Alto and MIT, Harvard and Cambridge, and technology and medical sectors are multiplying at an incredible rate.
There's a certain whoa factor to American life. And on top of this, you're in the middle of the world, closer to South America, Europe. Not everything is a half-day flight away.
But then there are the frequent moments when you can't help but sigh to yourself at this country, as though it is a bad drunk who just needs to be put in a taxi and told to sleep it off.
I call these my "Really, America?" moments.
First, there's the health insurance thing. I've been medically uninsured the past few months, which is silly and something that I've constantly meant to rectify but haven't. It means that I am living moment-to-moment with no safety net. Even with insurance, I could still end up substantially out of pocket in the event of a medical catastrophe.
The culture of misinformation that has branded the sorts of medical benefits and assurances that every New Zealander enjoys as state-sponsored socialism makes me grit my teeth.
There's the general sense of economic decline across the entire country, and the constant frustration of a political system focused entirely on getting re-elected at the expense of fixing it. The governor of California, presiding over the world's fifth-largest economy, just announced that the state was facing an annual budget deficit that was almost twice as large as the state had recently estimated and that planned cuts were going to be even more severe.
Student debt recently hit $1 trillion in the USA and more than 90 per cent of students borrow to study. Institutions of higher education are stratified and bloodthirsty and a tertiary qualification is not within the reach of everybody here.
As somebody who plans on having American children that I would like to educate, this terrifies me.
Despite the passing of a bogglingly complex financial reform bill, JPMorgan Chase still managed to lose $2 billion. Foreclosure rates remain high. House prices are in the toilet. There's also the long work weeks, with only two weeks' guaranteed annual holiday.
And so you have these structural fractures in America's education, financial, housing, government and medical sectors that aren't getting addressed.
But to rub salt in the wound of worry, there's an irrelevant preoccupation with social and moral issues, and a constant stream of bigotry from national representatives. It feels as though there's an American answer to Colin Craig running his mouth off every day.
Each of the two responses in me is genuine.
But I choose as always to side with hope over exasperation, because it is just a better way to live.
I know that when I begin the application for residency in the coming weeks, it is something that comes with a long pros and cons list.
There's no resolving the two sides to the reality of an American life: Dr. Doom and Mr. Opportunity.
And isn't doubt a natural part of any reality? I like to see both sides of any situation. I think it is a skill, not a curse, which can save us all from fundamentalism and demagoguery.
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