I’m a stuck-up American

Sigh. Yes, I admit it. I used to talk about “stuck-up Americans” and roll my eyes at them. How silly they were! Shallow, materialistic, thinking America was the best thing since sliced bread. Yup, I was go glad I wasn’t a stuck-up American.

I suppose I should explain that. You see, I didn’t grow up in America. We moved overseas when I was three years old, and I spent most of my life in Southeast Asia. Occasionally, my family and I would come home for a year or a few months in the summer. When I was seven, we were in Virginia for a year. When I was ten, we lived in Georgia for a semester. When I was 14, we were in Texas for a year. And then there were the various summers when we’d come home for a few months. But all in all, I was more Asian than anything.

And I was proud of that. I didn’t really like America. I really did think they were self-centered. I didn’t like going back for visits, except to see family and enjoy American food and malls for a while (although then I was ready to go back to rice and street-side stalls).  Granted, now I can understand that a lot of my distaste for America, especially at a young age, was that I didn’t like getting taken away from my “home” in Asia, and I had to blame it on something. So I chose to blame it on the whole country of America.

Then–either shortly before I came back to the States at 18, or perhaps once I had started going to college here–I came to realize something. My disdain for America and for the people that lived here…well, how stuck-up was that? The country that annoyed me was the very one that gave me the freedoms I took for granted. As much as I loved the countries I grew up in, I had to admit that no one there had quite the same freedoms that I did.

So yes, I finally had to admit it. I truly was a stuck-up American, because I was an American who didn’t even appreciate what my country gave me.

Thus, I would like to ask all the Americans I slandered to forgive me. I would like to apologize to my poor country that I made fun of. It doesn’t mean Asia’s not still a part of me. But having lived the last 6 years in America now (wow! has it really been that long?), I’m starting to realize this place isn’t as bad as I thought it was. I thank God for the freedoms He has given me, and today I specifically thank Him–and the men and women who have protected our country–for the freedom of being an American. And yes, even a stuck-up one.

Happy 4th of July.

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10 thoughts on “I’m a stuck-up American

  1. To be fair, many Americans really are stuck up- as in, while you were thinking Asia was better than America- Americans were (and are) thinking they were better than the rest of the world. We have many freedoms.. Bush also took away many freedoms that we’re currently trying to restore. Be proud to be American and proud to be able to change America, but I hope everyone remembers that America is NOT perfect. We still struggle for equal rights every single day and there are so many people who do NOT have basic human rights. There’s a lot wrong with America as much as there is stuff right with America. So I would still caution about being a stuck up American.

    • I agree completely, Heather. America is not perfect. I know that very well. Just like any other country, we have our faults. And perhaps we have more faults than some for all our pride. I did realize, however, that it was very arrogant of me to judge and mock America without appreciating the good things that came from it.
      Thanks for your input!

  2. The US does have a lot to offer compared to Southeast Asia: the higher material quality of life, and of course, the greater freedoms (depending on which country in SE Asia).

    Of course, it may not have the intimacy of close relationships found in Asia, the colorful culture and the cheap cost of living in SE Asia.

    But that being said, I do not believe in absolutes. Nowhere and nothing is truly “bad” or “good”in its entirety. It depends on what you want to and can live with.

  3. I see you are feeling nostalgic too 🙂

    I know exactly what you mean! (I think we say this a lot on each other’s blogs, huh?). But when I was growing up overseas I would often have the feeling that “American’s are greedy capitalists” or this and that and the other.

    I really hated being associated with being American at times. And like you, I too feel more “Asian” than “American”. But since I’ve been in America for 2 years, I’m loving the country more and more. I can be whatever religion I choose, I can have any sexual preference, without fear of being thrown in jail.

    And yes, although America isn’t perfect, I’d say it is the best country to be a citizen of, by far.

  4. I think it’s all about enjoying wherever you’re from and not taking things for granted, good for you 🙂 Wish you visit Jakarta back someday, it has changed a lot.

  5. I think everyone’s a little stuck up about where they’re from, which means there’ll always be a little distain for outsiders. That’s that whole local pride thing. But it ain’t easy being American outside of America right now, as a rule!

  6. As a fellow MK . . . this is a really good post. I did the same thing and I’ve been back for about 6 years too. It is just crazy how we can become so close minded and “stuck-up” about people who are so close minded and “stuck-up” and thus become just like them. So lame.

    Great post.

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