Tag Archives: america

Pledging Allegiance

A German friend once told me how surprised he was by the number of flags flown in France, and asked if there were as many in the United States. I laughed, and told him I was constantly surprised how one French city only flies a handful of flags. On Independence Day the American Flag decorates our front porch, my beach towel and sunglasses, but it’s normal for every school, business, stadium, and (here, anyway) neighborhood telephone pole to fly the stars and stripes every day of the year.

Last week’s Fourth of July firework celebration started off with a dusk singing of the Star-Spangled banner, which we sing often enough that Marylanders add an extra-loud “OH!” for the Baltimore Orioles “Os” baseball team. The next day I accidentally rode my bike through a Fourth parade where the street was lined with thousands robed in red, white and blue. Despite the horrors in American past–slavery, near-destruction of the native population, civil war, overreaching ourselves as a superpower–in general we are a nation that stands under that flag. It had never occurred to me before this year that anyone, anywhere, might find that strange.

Like every flag of every nation, all the parts mean something. The 50 stars on the field of blue stand for our 50 states, and the stripes represent the first 13 colonies to make up the union. Maryland was one.

Red supposedly symbolizes hardiness and valor, which Americans have been showing since Day 1; pioneering and working to build a seriously huge nation. White is for purity and innocence… which is hogwash, probably. But blue is vigilance, perseverance and  justice.

In part, we’re just being silly. As a nation we like to celebrate, and go over the top a lot more than I’ve ever seen the average low-key Frenchman or woman even attempt. But we’re also full of pride when displaying an American flag tshirt or saying the Pledge of Allegiance, and I think that if it helps us remember from time to time what the country was built on and that we should aim to be…. then we’re doing it right.


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Here I come

I haven’t updated this blog in like two weeks. I have written at least three or four blog posts, but between finishing out my contract at school, scrubbing the floor of my apartment on my hands and knees, and migrating from house to apartment to high school to Parisian apartment to airport Brioche Dorée at 6 a.m., I haven’t seemed to find the time to post them.

A thing that I can say is that I am sad that I am at the airport, and not just because the pain au chocolat is expensive, but I will be glad to be back in the States later today.

I will be glad to eat Mexican food, have people be on time, buy bagels, eat crabs, give hugs willy-nilly, smile at strangers on the street, and make up words without being chastized.

A bientôt.

When You’re Not Homesick

A few weeks ago I ran across my friend Meghan’s blog post about her desire to be more adventurous being hindered by homesickness, even during short business trips. This week, I read about a recently published book, Homesickness: An American History by Susan J. Matt.

The book (which I haven’t read yet), other reviews and Meghan’s blog post both discuss the idea that homesickness is negative, and even weak. I don’t really agree with this idea. Everyone has felt homesick at some point, myself included, and I would say that’s sign that you love a people and a place. That’s POSITIVE, especially if you don’t let it consume you. I’ve only been out of the States for six weeks and Christmas is looming, but so far I have only dealt with minor moments of loneliness. This has actually caused some twinges of guilt: shouldn’t I be pining for crab feasts, peanut butter and dance parties? Continue reading