Thursday, July 30, 2009

I'm afraid of Americans

Tomorrow I will set foot on U.S. soil for the first time in seven years. I am a bit apprehensive about it for a couple of reason: first, will I love it so much I won't want to return to Greece, and second, will it be the same?

When I left the U.S. I was ready to get the hell out of dodge. Not for any particular reason, it was just if I was going to stagnate somewhere I might as well experience a change of scenery. Yet when I left I was an American through and through. I felt appropriate fear towards terrorist threats, appropriate disdain towards uncouth European ideals, appropriate entitlement from my American roots, and my mind was as closed as a nun wearing a chastity belt. Everything I knew about the world outside of the U.S. was pretty much stereotype perpetuated by the media and the curse of growing up American during the Cold War.

Now, after living in a European country (barely) for 7 years, I no longer feed on media fear, I no longer have disdain for Europeans, and I sure as hell no longer have any sense of entitlement. My mind is more open, and I know more about news of the world than I do news of the U.S. (except, of course, for what is going on with regard to Michael Jackson's death). If I didn't know better, I'd think I had the same general malaise of thought with regard to Americans as many Europeans do. But that can't be right. I'm an American!

Perhaps it is fitting that I will start my trip in the nation's capital. As I stroll around the streets of Washington, D.C., perhaps I will form a new idea of what America means to me. But I'm not certain it is still the place I would call home.