This morning my wife asked what I wanted to do after work, because it was my ‘national day’. That made me think a little. For the first time in my civilian life, and for the most part my military life, I had to work on the 4th and over the holiday weekend too. There were no parties or cookouts to go to, no baseball games to watch, no lunch or dinner of hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, BBQ ribs, burgers, apple pie, water melon, etc. No fireworks or televised bits from accross America showcasing patriotism. Today is just another day in 9/10 of the rest of the world. After work we did try to find a place that sold hot dogs, but had to settle on german sausage on a hard roll, an apple pie from McDonalds, and setting my media player to fireworks.
It dosen’t matter where you are or what you do or don’t do, if you are American you know. For us this isn’t just another day, it is a day for family and friends during summer. It is a time to catch up, unwind, relax, and just enjoy some of the things that make life fun and worthwhile for us. For many of us abroad it is only a day that we can imagine what it is like back in our home land. We are the ones who used our freedom to go out into this large scary world and put a positive face on our people through hard work, dedication, old fashioned American know-how and work ethic, and just to show people we are human and regular people after all. In the Navy they reminded us each port we went to to always act on our best behavior, because we were the true ambassitors to our country. No that I am a worker abroad I realize I am doing more for my homeland just by living amoung others then I ever did defending her. Chinese, Indian, Korean, Japanese, European I see them all on a daily basis, talk to them oftern, and work with them constantly. In our global economies and worlds nationalism is shrinking and becoming fuzzy. We are still judged by where we are from, however people have much more open minds towards many things these days.
I am an American, I am proud of that fact for my own reasons. I do not force my ideology or views down peoples throats. I am not a war mongering or colonizing bully greedy for another persons resources. I am just a person trying to make a living and experience life to the best way I can given my lifestyle and resources. Others see this and once they see I am normal, and I in turn see they are normal and not what I am lead to beleave in 10 second news clips then we are doing real work. I may not enjoy the freedoms any of my fellow citizens do, but that is fine, my sacrifice is on my own accord, I am here of my own free will and can leave when I wish (unless I piss off the Chinese government then its a whole worse sort of thing!) I may complaign and grip about things here, but this is more to let people know about life here from my perspective. Many of the things I find odd, amuzing, and curious is the same with other Americans. I may not be able to have the day off or enjoy a fireworks show, but I am celebrating in my own ways. At a pub sharing a beer with other multi-nationals or talking to others at a networking event about current affairs. I do miss the things that are going on back home and wish I was there, Milwaukee, Alabama, Virginia, Michigan or Claifornia, any of those places I have called home from time to time but I am also glad to be here. I will return home again, that I know for as excieting and adventourous as China and working abroad is, it isn’t home.
When you go back home the first thing you always recognize is the smell, it is a friendly and comforting reminder of your youth. To me this extended living and working outside of the states is something I am enjoying but one day I will return home. I may not get the 1 week off people do here in China for their National Days but that is fine. Watching the fireworks, fireflies, and enjouing some familar foods in familiar places is a good thing to look forward to. You may not be able to go home again, but you can go back to a familiar place and feel comfortable. For me living abroad this is just another day too, but I do know others are enjoying it and I hope they do, for we all deserve one day to feel the inclusion and brotherhood of our fellow country men. This is a day to celebrate our uniting creed and principle. For unlike most other places on earth we Americans can not be identified by our looks or dress or accent or anything else. We are united by values, beliefs, principles and ideals. This is a day to put differences aside and celebrate the ability to have differences and voice them without fear. This is a day to remember all those before us and all those who will come after us. This is a day to share in the knowledge we are all the same, despiet all our differences, we are all the same, juist like the ones I meet over here. For everywhere you go people are people and they all want pretty much the same thing, just to live a good life and be content and happy for most of it.