I’m from Indiana. And before you start assuming that we’re all bunch of corn-fed, down-home hicks, let me just tell you’re wrong. Flat-out wrong. I’m proud to be a Hoosier. We’re number in basketball. We’re damn nice people. And we know how to react when it snows.
Growing up, everybody wanted to get “out” of Indiana, to travel far away for college, to leave behind what we saw as boring, as nothing, as not worth knowing. Growing up, we were naïve. Far too good we had it, back in my hometown, with teachers who cared, basketball games on Friday nights, and after-school jobs at the local ice cream shop. We grew up in a slice of americana, if you will. Not everyone shares my experience, but a lot of us do. It was a blessed, innocent time in our lives.
So we left. We spread out. Some of us stayed home, some of us left for college around the country, some of us dreamed of leaving but couldn’t. Some of us studied abroad; some of us never came back. But those of us who left have a unique perspective. We know what it’s like to be the foreigner, the different one. We know how it is to defend one’s country, one’s state. Because of this, many of us become (absurdly?) prouder of our home, of our families, of our way of life.
I’m proud to be from Indiana.
In Spain, I’m the American. I’m the one people question when something absurd has happened with our government, when there is a shooting for the umpteenth time, when there is a snowstorm … I represent the States for many of my husband’s family members. It’s a bit like being an ambassador, except the pay is kind of crappy and you don’t get invited to any VIP parties.
There are bad things about the US. But living abroad teaches me to remember the good, to hold it close and cherish it. There are small things I love: smiles on the street, free refills, basketball, tailgating, skyscrapers, tator tots (what?), music. There are the big things: resilience, entrepreneurship, Title IX, universities, the first amendment, natural beauty, diversity, generosity.
I’m proud to be from the US.
In Spain, my adopted home is Zamora. Zamora is beautiful, quiet, full of Romanesque treasures. It’s situated on the Duero River, which is the heart of the city.
Ha sido y es la memoria, la fuerza a veces incontrolada de sus avenidas que todo lo arrasa, los juegos, las aventuras, los amores… la barca y el barquero.
De él llega la niebla, pero también el aliento, esa luz especial relacionada con la vida y el movimiento, que en diálogo con la estática urbe da forma a ese tiempo interno, elíptico de la ciudad, y el aire para respirar y las aves, y los colores.
Él fue la energía que movió el comercio y la industria harinera y a través de él llegan las estaciones, las noticias o las historias ya desarrolladas porque el Duero en Zamora es ya Don.
Zamora, according to Henry IV, was (and is!) a “most noble and most loyal city.”
I’m proud to be an adopted zamorana. And I know many of my husband’s family are proud to be from Zamora.
As proud as I am to be an American, I don’t see that pride from Spaniards about their country. Oh sure, get them talking about their food or their region or their local traditions … they’ll talk your ear off? But Spain in general. You might just hear crickets!
I’m not criticizing. At all. It’s a phenomenon I think that many of we foreigners have noticed. There’s not point in blind patriotism, but the lack of it altogether sometimes bewilders me.