…was PJs, a shawl, and an ace bandage.
Sitting in front of my computer, with a cup of tea and my knitting, I watched the live coverage in the early hours of January 21st in Korea.
Listening to the new POTUS, I am still filled with hope. Which is what we, as a nation, is gambling on, isn’t it? We voted to choose a relatively inexperienced man as the leader of our country because we needed someone who would help us believe in us again. To really live and be “Proud to be an American”… which was hard, in a world that had slowly come to shun our policies and in turn, Americans. Now, it has come full circle, and we, the Americans abroad, can stop having to defend who we are and instead, promote that makes the United States that place that we all call home.
Pride in the nation that I call mine is something I took for granted until I left it. It bothered me, when I applied for my visa status, to sign away my Koreaness. Even stranger to realize that I didn’t exist anymore on my family’s geneological rolls…after so many generations, it ends. I felt that I was giving up a part of myself. But, as I lived here longer and longer, I realized that in my mind, I am and have always been, an American. Who I am, the way I think, the path I have always followed, has always fit more at home than in Korea.
And living out of the US for the first time in a quarter century, I had to defend my country. Anti-American sentiment wasn’t virulent, but existed. As a bilingual, I had explain why our export policies were solid, why we weren’t brash and annoying people, why our government was doing the things they did, to both Koreans and other expats. I received a physical attack for being a foreigner, and had to wonder, what friends meant when they said, “Oh, you’re an American? Really? I didn’t think you were.” Why? What is an American that isn’t I?
Instead of being pulled more and more between the two cultures I live in, I feel that my identity has been more solidified with my time here. I am a Korean-American. I treasure my heritage, the richness of the culture I was born in, and the diversity of the culture I have sworn an oath to. But when push comes to shove, the nation that I will promote and defend is the United States of America.