September 11th, 2013 | Uncategorized
When I was in middle school, one of my favorite assignments was to design a square piece of paper with your heritage flags for Mrs. Anderson, one of the best 7th grade teachers out there. As a sucker for anything arts and crafts (now I use crazy nail painting projects to fulfill this hobby), I was elated with the creative possibilities. My mom is all Irish, my dad half Czech and half German. The proportions work out great. And for my whole life in the United States, I have identified myself by this background. When someone asks, what are you, I tell them, “Half Irish, one quarter German and one quarter Czech,” and I find this a common theme across the country.
I wanted to do something different for this blog in honor of September 11th. I am still adjusting to being an American living in another country, especially when it comes to holidays or memorials that are very important in my own country. For example, Shelby and I didn’t realize it was Labor Day until the day after, and Thanksgiving will be just another long day of class. Yet I am becoming more and more aware of the importance of being outside of the US, and developing a feel for the sentiment toward the US from other countries. Obviously I could write a thesis on said topic, but I’ll try to keep it quick and interesting and touch back on my observations occasionally.
Working in the schools, I have noticed a significant difference between identifying with heritage than we have in the United States. There was one young girl of Filipino descent, and when we asked jokingly where the kids were from, one of her classmates said, “She’s from the Philippines.” She snapped back, “No, I’m Irish my parents are from there.” Classmates seem to love throwing their friends under the bus, as in another class they volunteered that one of the boy’s fathers was German. He quickly responded, “So what, I’m Irish.”
I find there is a huge sense of patriotism in this country. I am currently watching the BBC series, The Story of Ireland and it is helping me develop an understanding of why. I recommend it for all my fellow scholars and anyone trying to understand the complicated past of this country. It has been torn by the connection between religion, politics, conquest and famine. The people who survived were hardened, and that past has contributed to a devotion to this country.
So, in this country, I am an American, and today I am remembering all those who were affected by September 11th and praying for a peaceful world.
My parents fly in tomorrow morning for a quick visit before the school year starts up, and I am SO excited! We are going to get to do some serious sightseeing and delve even more into the history than I have so far. ‘Til next time…Slan!