Every time the 4th comes around, and I avoid watermelon like the plague, it's fun. With sparklers and beer, and friends, and the taste of smoke on all my food.
After the 4th I'm usually really contemplative.
I became an adult on military bases overseas, in two of the three countries that were once called the Axis powers. So after being all 'American' I always feel a little weird. My first job paid half in Dollars and half in Euros. American money looks weird to me still(why is it all green?! Do you know how hard it is to find the right bill when they're all the same size and color after living in countries that do differently?! Gah!) sometimes.
Sitting here enjoying left over Japanese potato salad (recipe here for anyone who wants a nice change in the potato salad routine. I add a dollop of sour cream or mayo to make it smoother) it occurs to me that I both hate and enjoy being a third culture kid. I made JAPANESE potato salad for an AMERICAN celebration. (everyone together now: d'oh!)
Sometimes I don't know what it means to be American. I know what it meant to my host cultures while growing up. It meant being loud, rich, stubborn, and hopelessly prideful, but ultimately good despite all our glaring faults.
I think being an American might mean this:
1. Constantly messing with the English language. (with words like Epicosity, gnarly, and using things like 'bad' to express things that are 'good')
2. Competition, or a competitive spirit in some area. I think this is something our ancestors passed on to us.
3. Television. I dare anyone to disagree with this. It's a huge cultural thing to talk about what we saw on TV. Whether it's some drama, scifi, or news scoop, we probably didn't read about it or hear it on the radio.
So, what do you guys think makes America what it is and it's people who they are?