Thursday, July 01, 2010

Reflections on the 4th as an Expat

I lot of people seem to think that I hate America just because I don't live there anymore... and because I'm pretty vocal about my belief that the American Revolution wasn't a just war... and because when I was in high school I used to tell people that I hated America. This is further accentuated by the fact that these days I'm usually mistaken for either a German or Russian (by Turks, Germans, and Russians), and even a cursory review of American history shows that Germany and Russia haven't exactly been our bffs.

But in reality I'm American as my mom's gluten free apple pie (which more is like a cobbler, because gluten free pie crust is really hard to make). For example:

I like more than 12oz of soda with my dinner.
I like ice in said large quantities of soda.
I love air conditioning.
I love American Football.
I regularly use American inventions, such as the light bulb, the telephone, and the internet (thanks former vice president and Nobel laureate Al Gore).

All of these things are distinctly American and people who don't like America don't have to use them.

But beyond a renewed appreciation for these conveniences, living abroad has taught me that everyone comes from a place, and that place plays a tremendous role in one's worldview and identity. In recognizing the fact that I had absolutely no influence as to which nation or culture I was born into, the best response seems to be an appreciative but critical acceptance of my national and cultural heritage.

In other words, I am getting a tattoo of a bald eagle riding on a Harley Davidson holding an American flag.


Laura said...

That's almost like Jamie Barnes's tattoo idea -- Taz, riding a Harley, WITH a bald eagle tattoo on HIS bicep. Pretty badass.

Darren Jennings said...

You know, I read most entries you've written and this is by far my favorite... hope to see more posts like this. Maybe you would think my appreciation for sarcastic, mostly non-informative posts gives insight to how much I care about you, or lack thereof... but I wouldn't read into it like that. I love you.

Paul said...

Jamie Barnes talks about wanting that same tatoo, only it's the Tasmanian Devil w/the flag with a tat of the Tasmanian Devil w/the flag.

Megan said...

Please, please, please get that tattoo.

michael said...

Paul, you need to stop ripping off Laura.

Darren, I'm glad you finally approve of one of my blogposts.

Megan, done.

Tim James said...

You know, I never really thought about the whole "American Revolution not being justified" thing, but I can see where you're thinking is and I think I agree with you. That is, I would say that the first half of the war was not justified. Once America actually declared itself a country, the British were invading them, not just overcharging them for tea, and needed to get out. But killing people over taxes is certainly a little warped. Come to think of it, killing people is general is pretty warped, but I would argue justifiable if they've got their army parked on top of your country. I suppose it sounds like I hate America too now. Perhaps everyone needs a stay in Asia to give them some perspective.