Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh, Beautiful

I'm trying to teach my students about Independence Day this week,
but every time I say the words "constitution," "independence," or "patriotic,"
their eyes gloss over.

Show them a picture of a kid in a cherry-pie eating contest, however,
and they're nothing but riveted attention.

I think all they're getting out of my class is that people throw candy during parades and fireworks scare dogs.

On the other hand, all I'm getting out of it is homesickness.

I have to admit it's difficult to be patriotic while living abroad.
Especially when so many people's opinion of America is negative
(often for good reason).
I find myself fighting down the urge to lie about where I'm from
just to avoid the ridicule and judgement.

It feels like other nationalities can be openly proud of their heritage,
but since Americans are expected to be cocky jerks, I have to bite my lip.

I am proud, though.
I don't hold to the delusion that America's got it all together, or that we are somehow superior to other trazillion* people on the planet.
I love my beautiful country and all of the incredibly warm, loving, and embracing people in it.

So even though I didn't eat hamburgers this year,
didn't light fireworks,
wear red, white, & blue,
or get to spend time with my family,
I am thankful for the 4th of July.

Thankful it reminded me that where I'm from is part of who I am, like it or not.

Happy Belated Birthday, America.

*rough estimate


  1. Ahhh, yes. The American: an ever popular pinata at parties. I got a lot of crap from people last week for being an American and while most of the time I just ignore it, it got to me because I was missing home so much. Yes, the US deserves some of the criticism they get but then again, there are a lot of people just looking for someone to hate (this is especially true here in Sydney). I can only imagine though what it must be like on Okinawa right now! I bet people are especially unimpressed with the whole military base fiasco! But like you said, there are lots of kind, accepting, loving people from America and you're one of them--one of America's finest ambassadors of good will! Happy 4th of July!!

  2. Oh, and did you photo make it into the JET calendar? I've been meaning to ask that...

  3. Oh, Kortney, you said it! Being the pinata gets so tiring! :P
    The military presence does make it worse sometimes, but what can ya do? They're not all bad, either. ;)

    The deadline for the calendar was just last week, so I sent mine in. Ee!! I will let you know as soon as I hear anything!