December 18, 2009

Red, White, and Who?

Before moving abroad, I was under the impression that the whole world hated Americans. Now I know that we are loved just as much as we are hated (at least in this country), and usually the feelings are simultaneous.

Daniel and I had an interesting discussion about this over lunch today (while the kids hooted like owls and ate their yogurt and bacon). We talked about how our close friendship with a Dutch couple, Robin and Tanja, has helped us see ourselves (Americans) from an outside perspective.

"We are easy to hate, and easy to love," Daniel said. I agreed.

"Who do we know like that?" I asked him. "Who do we know who embodies America? Or in other words, if America were a person, who would it be?"

We thought of someone, though I won't ever tell who it is.

He/she is headstrong and stubborn, thinks him/herself always right, makes statements of absolute truth about issues that he/she is not learned about, is immature, makes rash decisions, has many regrets, rises to every challenge, never turns down an adventure, feels very passionate about everything, talks fast and loud, is quite obnoxious, hurts many peoples feelings, steps on many toes, leaves a trail of tears, has a contagious energy, is impossible to deflate, has a good heart, would do anything for anyone, always wants to help, is always trying to learn new things and better him/self, is fiercely loyal, is a natural leader, and everyone knows who he or she is.

That is America. Some think us better than that, some think us worse, but on average, we are like a grating friend who you couldn't live without. A friend who has everything, who isn't beautiful but attracts everyone, who radiates confidence, who intimidates; who never remembers your birthday, but would die for you after only meeting you once.