A is for America

The subject of America has been on my mind now for a while. We had a wonderful relationship my entire life but now that we are in a trial separation, things are getting a bit convoluted. I don’t know if it has anything to do with feeling more evolved, living seven hours in the future and whatnot, but I am really starting to feel more and more disconnected. After living abroad for over half a year my life has become almost paradoxical. My identity is American. Whether I am touring, on a bus, at work, or chatting with locals, I am that American girl. I look it, talk like it, and there is no escaping it (except for sometimes when I like to pretend I don’t understand English and it confuses people). I know I am American and always will be. But then when I go back to America, what will my identity be? I will no longer be that American girl. This is both frightening and relieving at the same time, I just cannot tell which it is more so that is why I am rambling about it in a blog post. It is the current thought that drives me crazy and so maybe having it in writing will magically solve it. In the meantime here are some lists I have made about America.

Things I miss from America:

1) Costco and Target. Seriously, one-stop shopping is the greatest thing to ever happen. I apologize to all you small business owners out there, I know you are struggling and I sympathize, but if I can get my dental floss, breakfast bars, new socks, a notebook, and a bottle of wine all at the same place, I’m going to do so. Especially if there are samples involved.

2) Mexican food. It turns out that not every country borders Mexico (I know, I was shocked too!) and so not every country is blessed with wonderful authentic Mexican cuisine. Where I am living I cannot even find a taco let alone anything as glorious as an enchilada or carne asada fries.  Yeah, yeah, there are plenty of benefits in the food department when it comes to living abroad, but sometimes a girl wants what a girl wants. And this girl wants Mexican food. All. The. Time.

3) Internet things. Have you ever seen the “This video is not available in your country” message pop up on YouTube? I have. Also Pandora, Netflix, and Hulu don’t work. I have to make my own music playlists now!

4) Random odds and ends. Calling soccer “soccer” and not “football”. Cars being parked in the street instead of on the curb. Not having cigarette smoke blown in my face everywhere I go. Having confidence in my ability to open windows. Being able to read food labels properly. Not seeing 30 stray cats on my way to work. Elevators that hold more than 4 people.

5) My family and friends. Sometimes I wish they would all just fit in my pocket.

Things I don’t miss from America:
1) Fake politeness. In America if someone says “We should hang out sometime” there is a pretty good chance they don’t mean it. In America if you bump into someone they apologize to you. People are fake nice and it is confusing. When I go back home I will be polite, but not fake polite. People will think I’m rude, but that’s okay.

2) Entitlement. The world doesn’t owe us anything just because we are used to getting what we want. Not all Americans have this viewpoint, but I find entitlement to be more common in America than in other places.

3) Feeling like my life has to be a certain way. I love the uncertainty of living abroad. If I walk out my door in the morning and get lost, that’s okay and I will figure it out. I don’t miss the feeling I get in America that I need to get a big girl job, get married, and have 2.5 children. I do want all those things eventually, but in America they are goals I need to be working towards all the time. Abroad is like Neverland from Peter Pan where my life isn’t as real and the uncertainty of it all is comforting.

These are just some of my many thoughts at the moment about America. I am going to cut myself off though, because it is really late here in the future and I am tired. I hope everyone had a great first day of the challenge, I look forward to reading lots of A-mazing posts!

J