For the past year and a half, I’ve lived in Singapore, writing up a storm, exploring Southeast Asia, making friends from all over (but mostly England, as random as that is). I haven’t been around many Americans. I moved home to Wisconsin last week.
Living abroad has given me a new appreciation of what it means to be American. it’s helped me recognize our unique culture and subcultures. It’s given me the chance to see my country–the ugly, crazy, and beautiful parts–through the eyes of non-Americans, who are fascinated by us. While I was in Singapore, the United States went through the government shutdown (which was SO hard to explain), major gun rights and Affordable Care Act debates, Ferguson, President Obama’s executive order on immigration, ISIS, Ukraine/Russia conflict, and the spread of marijuana legalization and gay marriage recognition (to name a few things). I’m not here to pontificate, but that’s a lot of intense stuff. I also missed a gubernatorial election and I couldn’t absentee vote; that was upsetting. I have to say, prior to living abroad, I didn’t feel particularly proud to be American. NOT living in the U.S. changed that some.
Something really moved when I returned home in October (after eight months away) and again last week when I moved back. My plane landed in Minneapolis (Detroit in October). As I waited in the U.S. Citizen immigration line, looking around at my fellow Americans, it hit me both times. The people in line with me came from many different racial/ethnic backgrounds: African American, white, Latino, a variety of Asian ethnic groups. You can’t identify an American based on their skin color, facial features, or even the language they are speaking.We look different, but we are ALL American. We are the same People.
“E Plurbus Unum”…one from many. There are very, very few countries that would have citizen immigration lines that are as diverse as ours.
It made me proud to be American.
It is a wonderment, isn’t it? I agree with you. Thanks for reminding me of that amazing fact.
My pleasure! Glad to find a like mind 😀
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing! I had a moment like that once. November 2001 (two months after 9/11) we attended the wedding of a colleague-friend of my husband, in the Boston, MA area. The groom was from Greece. The bride was from Japan. The reception was in an Indian restaurant. The guests came from China, Taiwan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Ireland, Germany, and India, as well as from-northern-Europe-at-some-point-but-in-the-U.S.-for generations (which describes us). I remember looking around the room and feeling hope for America, in spite of all that had happened only two short months before.
That’s an amazing story! Thanks for sharing. You get exactly what I mean 😀 We certainly have our issues, but what an amazing mix of cultures all into one.
LikeLiked by 1 person