Tuesday, July 5, 2011


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?


  1. I wouldn't put too much thought over the whole Japanese potato salad. If you think about it, its exactly American. Our culture IS mainly northern and western Europe originated, and the reason for that highly debatable, but we are still a high mixture of cultures.

    I don't think anyone can really pinpoint EXACTLY what their country is like. There are so many varying aspects that it makes it difficult. All we can make are our own personal opinions.

    Mine? I agree with our host cultures: Americans are loud, a bit spoiled and rich, stubborn, hopelessly prideful, but good despite it all. We have our flaw and we have our fine points. We make mistakes and then make amends. I agree with your numbers 1 and 3. I don't necessarily disagree with number 2, but I think that every country is competitive in some way. Where it may not be in one area, it may make up for in another.

    In comparison to the Asian culture, we are rather blunt and aggressive. I think Americans practice the ability to speak our minds and not care about those that disagree. I think we see it as a strength. We applaud brash behavior, in a way. I get this idea from the fascination over reality shows like "Jersey Shore" and "Real World". I think we are also quick to defense and offense. Life seemed VERY much more laid-back in Europe.

    I also think that America-in all the glorious irony-is narrow-minded to culture. I think this comes from the fact that, unlike the rest of the world, we are not surrounded by other other countries with a set other language and culture. We are, in a sense, detached from the rest of the world in cultural acceptance. We are one whole continent with a history of demanding "American Culture" perservation, despite any cost. I think that idea has carried and shaped nowadays, and we are still getting over it. Think about it: When students in other countries graduate, they generally know 2 languages. In America, I can't think of one person (who hasn't actually lived outside the US) who knows something outside of English, despite the growing numbers of Spanish.

    I know I seemed to speak a lot of bad, but I'm actually an idealist when it comes to the US. I don't see it as horrible or evil, because I see great people all around me. I think, in general, we are pretty good with our own flaws and fine points, just as any country. And just like any country, we can always better ourselves.

    Again, one can write a whole book on such a broad thought. Kudos for thinking it! lol Though I will stop here before I get anymore extensive.

  2. I'm not an American so my answer might be different than others.

    1. Starbucks

    2. Facebook

    3. Selfishness

    Well, I want to talk about them in detail someday later. I hope you enjoyed the 4th of July. I have had the one four years ago. That was so much fun to me.

    Take care!

  3. I hate all green money! I love my Canadian colourful bills. I'd miss them.

    Also, just as an aside, I think you might like my friend V and her blog www.peopleisplace.blogspot.com You guys remind me of each other a bit.