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.