Donnerstag, 6. Mai 2010

proud to be a.....

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.

1 Kommentar:

  1. You should ask Uncle Mike and our cousins about their impressions of Ireland. His/their story is entirely different because of the amounts of choice/privilege/access/money involved, but I think he and Joan tried hard to raise their children with awareness and appreciation for Mike's home culture.
    And then the contrast is Margery who, to me, seems very happy to have to Canadian sons with very few ties to their American roots.