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.