Yesterday morning, I had an irrational response to Ivo's saying that "Poisoning the Pigeons in the Park" was covered by Tom Fuller and was originally a German song. He searched the Internet and found that the song was Fullers and, like a gentleman, said that he was wrong. But it was too late. I was worked-up. Worked-up like I was when Steff tried to convince me that the tune of Yankee Doodle was not an American song, but a "Universales Lied" (Universal Song). They were singing football songs to the Yankee Doodle melody at the time. They'd just finished a song to the tune of a Bon Jovi song and another to the tune of a White Stripes song. I may have frothed at the mouth.
Living abroad has exposed me to how dearly I hold my American Myths. When a small German man told me that Germans had invented the automobile and the airplane. "But, but, but....Kittyhawk!" As a result, I seem to be super sensitive to the claims laid to things that I consider American. I'm not talking blind belief, (I knew a certain young girl who believed that Washington invented colors and the alphabet.) but happy belief of certain "truths" that I hold to be "self evident"; not just to me, but to the world.
When I first moved here, people would say "You don't act like an American!" The fact that I smoked, didn't drive a car, never ate at McDonalds and was interested in learning a foreign language, confused them. This didn't really upset me at the time. I'd roll my eyes and get over their stereotypes and misconceptions. I find, however, that I am especially sensitive now that I am considering raising a child abroad. I have, perhaps irrationally, not considered my decision to live abroad as an out-right rejection of my homeland. Now, though, I am struggling with how to teach my child the myths of the country what made me. That child will have intelligent American relatives to help, but I am currently newly aware of what my decision means and the work ahead of me, if I want my child to know the good bits that their mommy loves about America.