I love America.
Never have I felt more American than when I lived in France. In France, as soon as I open my mouth, I am labeled as an American. It goes beyond my American accent and English sentence construction, and into the things I expect of society. From the financial: I expect that when I lose money in a metro ticket machine, it will be returned to me. To the social: Growing up in a country of immigrants, the qualifications of being American is comparatively lax. I had a friend tell me that he was only half French, because only one parent was French — even though he had been raised there. To religious expression: Banning of headscarves in schools clearly violates the 1st amendment granting freedom of religion, speech, etc.
Its easy to see Paris through rose colored glasses, and its easy to look at France through cynical eyes. But, its better to see Paris, France, and the French for what they are: similar but different. Living in another country showed me how people are fundamentally the same everywhere, but how perceptions of societies are altered by place. Still, France and America are like first cousins, we share a recent similar Western common ancestor. I’d like to go to South America and Asia in order to get a real blast of a societal difference.
There’s a part of me that already misses France, but a larger part of me is happy to be home. I’m surrounded by loving family and friends, I can understand what everyone around me is saying at all times, I understand the culture, and our customer service rocks.
There was something about riding on the Bolt bus up to NY from DC through the Greenwich Village to Midtown Manhattan that just made me love America. There’s so many different cultures here, and each and every one of them is embraced. We just have to figure out how to fit in a 2 hour lunch into our busy, beautiful American days.