Sometimes I find that American patriotism is not met with the most positive of reactions. I was raised in a family extremely proud of our roots, of our successes thanks to the U. S. of A. On top of that, several family members have served in the military, devoting their lives to serve their country and protect its citizens, so I never understood being ashamed of the place where I was born and raised. And those of you who have visited and read my blog before may remember my quick comment about the USN future of my boyfriend – I am no stranger to strong
servitude devotion to America, sometimes extending beyond personal desires (hello, multiple military moves – my future looms ahead).
I’ll admit that I wasn’t always such a constant fan of this country, though. Oddly enough, it took an extended time outside of America for me to appreciate it! I was outrageously excited to leave the States and spend months living in Ireland for my study abroad semester, eager to experience a new place and expand my horizons outside of America’s borders. I had lived twenty-one years within the state of California and was quite done with American culture, American accents, American ways. My first trip outside of the US was one that lasted five months, so I absolutely got my wishes!
I didn’t anticipate how much I would miss, however. The most ridiculous things brought heavy nostalgia: colors, foods (burgers!), even American money. I’m completely serious – euros are small, colorful, almost sterile compared to U.S. notes. The bills remind me of Monopoly money! U.S. dollars, on the other hand, are green and dingy, with their own distinctive smell and feel. Missing something like that may sound odd and gross, but the currency of this country suddenly seemed just as gritty as its people – industrious and not afraid to get dirty. Using foreign money on a daily basis made me realize just how far away I was from everything that I had grown up with.
Living abroad also forced me to acknowledge my country’s shortcomings in a very real way, beyond the petty complaints of daily life. America is certainly not a perfect country, but very few places – if any place – is perfect. I also learned not to waste too much time comparing such a huge country with smaller, progressive European countries that are often smaller than a single state in the USA. It’s hard to expect the same rate of progress in a place that has such a phenomenally large amount of people from a vast range of cultures. In my mind, that is one of the reasons why it takes so much time to enact real, worthwhile change in America – nothing beyond brainwashing is going to convince all people in all 50 states to agree on the same opinion all at once – but it’s also one of the reasons that makes America so great. We are completely free to believe anything and everything we wish, even if those beliefs may seem crazy to other people!
And after realizing the shortcomings of other countries as well as my own while abroad, I’ll frankly take those in America, thank you very much! After such an amazing ruling by the Supreme Court on gay marriage recently, I think this is the proudest I’ve ever been to live in my country. And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that, in my opinion.
Plus, patriotism is SO vintage. And I’m all for authenticity 😉
Are you proud of your country? I’d love to see your 4th of July fashion, so link me below!
Until next time,
Lauren | The Homemade Pinup