Saturday, June 17, 2006

21 years later

I came to the United States in 1985, expecting to stay 2 years. Here I am, almost 21 years later, still here. I've had an American passport for almost 5 years now but it doesn't really make me an American. Sure, I don't line up with the 'foreigners' at the airport and I sound American when I go back 'home' to England. I am as American as I'm ever going to be, as American as I need to be, and as American as many other Americans, but I am still less American than someone who was born here and grew up here. I lived elsewhere for the first 24 years of my life and I will always be able to see the United States as an outsider. Quite frankly I don't always like what I see.

On the other hand, now that I am almost an American, I see my homeland in a different light too. I'm no longer completely English, but I'm not completely American either and I like it that way. I can pick and choose, take the best of both for my own, and reject the parts I don't like. I criticize both and love both. If only I could spend equal time in each country - but until I win the lottery that's not going to happen, and given that I don't buy lottery tickets it's never going to happen!

3 comments:

Miguel said...

Susan, i know the feeling of being caught between two lands. As a Panamanian and American, enjoying dual citizenship like a native (parent from each land, you see), I often wish I was in Panama. But then, I KNOW that if I were in Panama, I would want to be in America.

In Panama, the maid (one of several) would always say when she came to the Canal Zone to work, "No me hallo." What she meant was, "I don't find myself here."

That is perhaps a truer reflection of what it means to be from two countries than anything...there is never a time when that feeling goes away completely, like a rock under your sleeping bag on a camping trip, no matter how nice the tent or the campfire.

Miguel

Anonymous said...

As a Scot, living in England, and married to a Welshman, the greatest advantage for me is that as long as Ireland does not win at any 4 nations sports event, I can rest happy.

Mmm said...

WOW!! I can so relate to your post in almost every regard. I came here when in 1985 too, also not expecting to stay and here I am still. I only get to go back about ever 4 years or so ...very sad really but this is my life now. I am so torn. Love both, and yet see issues with both as a an outsider, so to speak. I'll have to read your blog--just got here from another's where you left a comment.

Take care. Good to meet you.

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