As the war in Iraq began, I was not happy with the way things were going in the US. I was living in liberal San Francisco, but I still felt disenfranchised. I was even called un-American.
I had been to visit New Zealand, and I decided to return.
But when I did, I wasn’t sure that the remote, provincial paradise was the place for me. Our house was cold, I had to step back a few rungs in the workplace, and it was difficult to make friends with the insular Kiwis.
During those long Bush years, there was palpable anti-American sentiment in NZ. And a lot of it seemed to be directed at me. Kiwis mocked my accent, denounced my customs as too American, and made anti-American jokes.
But I didn’t reach out to other American expats. In my first five years in NZ, I didn’t meet any Yanks at work or over the Internet. And I certainly didn't want to meet them through the US Embassy.
Not only did I feel ashamed of my government’s policies, I was also embarrassed by the entitled brash arrogance of my people. The ugly Americans.
Things have changed. I have met some wonderful Americans living in the village. I'm enjoying some earnest American expat blogs. And I’m relieved to be so much happier about the direction my country seems to be headed.
Happy Fourth, y’all.
Unmagical thinking - I know people talk about the transformative power of grief, and I know that there’s supposed to be some alchemy whereby you internalize the person you lost...