Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Homeland

I am sitting in little Sagarejo, with lovely, kind Georgians, wiping my eyes from the news coverage of memorials for 9/11. May God bless those who lost loved ones. 

I have found nothing but kindness in Georgia, but oh how I miss America right now. 

 I love to travel. I was struck with near fatal wanderlust when I was a small child, but I was luckily diagnosed early by my aunt (who spent much of her life in Europe). There is no cure, but I have kept it (mostly) in check. But right now, I just want to be home for a few hours. I was working on a post about my birthday fun, but I think that can wait. And I could write about a lot of things America does/did/has that make me angry, but I won't. And I could get super deep and serious, but this little blog isn't really the place. Instead, here's my little love letter. 

I love the United States. I love it so much I'm not even sure how to explain myself. 

I found myself in conversation with a bunch of students from Europe, studying in DC, and they were telling me how funny they found it that we put our flag on bikinis and t-shirts. Our patriotism often expresses itself in silly ways - in 'Murica and stereotypes and shotguns and bald eagles. We act to the extreme because it is funny, but also because it is safe. As Americans, we are often seen as arrogant if we say we have a great country. But if we make it a joke, we can't be criticized. And it's also because we love a good joke. But I'm not joking when I say I love my country. 

I plan to spend much of my life abroad. Georgia will be the third foreign country I have spent a good amount of time in, but nothing will make my love for America diminish. In fact, the more I travel, the more I love my country. I'm sure most people feel the same about their own countries. 

I love the American mentality of "no job too big", how the accents, culture, flora and fauna vary across our huge nation. I love the social mobility, the chance America gives you. I know "life isn't fair" and America isn't perfect by any means, but I have friends who are political refugees who go to Harvard, recent immigrants from Peru who are now successful business men, Bolivian immigrant friends running dance troops, friends from dangerous inner city neighborhoods that now attend ivy league universities. I love how our Olympic team was the most diverse of all the ones you saw walk into the arena. I love our passion for volunteering and service. I love our sass. I love that I get approached by Mormon missionaries in the park. I love that I sometimes read blogs saying horrible, terrible things about America. Those things mean freedom. I love New York City, I love tiny Cordova, South Carolina. I love our stupid pop music. I even love star-spangled bikinis. 

I might spend the rest of my life abroad. Or I might go west on that All-American road trip I've always planned. I might settle down in the Appalachian mountains. Wherever I am, I will love America and I will write love letters to her. 

I spent my summer in Washington, DC and one silly, little moment encapsulated some of my favorite parts of America. I was sitting on the National Mall, about to watch the fireworks, with some fellow Smithsonian interns. An Indian family sat in front of us, the women dressed in beautiful sarees, speaking in Hindi. Suddenly, as the fireworks began a little boy from their group jumped up and shouted "EVERYDAY I'M SHUFFLING!" Everyone in the area laughed and cheered. Pop music. Multiculturalism. Shouting. DC. Fireworks.

God bless America.  

1 comment:

  1. God Bless America. She misses you and loves you too.