a few words on culture..

Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement on my last post.

The problem with being multicultural is that sometimes some aspects of one of the cultures get on your nerves. But I've got to remember that I'm lucky to have such problems..

Ah, to think back on the days when I only had one culture-- just middle-middle class, German-Irish Catholic south side of Chicago culture. I only knew about the things I saw in my daily life; getting teased at school, singing in the choir, going bumming with grandpa. Everybody would say, "what are you?" "I'm half Italian and half Polish." "I'm one quarter Lithuanian, one quarter Irish, and half Dutch." "I'm 100% Irish." "Me too."

And we did countless projects in school where we were assigned to go ask our grandparents about our family tree, when did they come to America, do we still have family back in ____?
Then we'd plot little stickers on the map of the world to show were "we" came from. Once a year we'd ask our grandmas to bake soda bread or make canoli for the "international lunch."
It was all great fun, definitely inspired me to want to learn more about other countries, but all in all, we were all still American. All of us. Even Jim Fergus whose mom came from Ireland (and she had an accent!). Why wasn't being American celebrated when we were growing up? Why did we have to wish we were from somewhere else, or fool ourselves into believing that we actually were?

I fell in love with Costas because he loved America. He could tell me things about my own country that I had no idea about, and no interest in knowing, before he made it sound like the best place on earth. That's when I started loving America. But before that I had already hightailed it out of here. As soon as I could I left the country (at age 16, for a 3 week trip to Japan). Choosing to go to Japan was completely arbitrary. I could have gone anywhere and been just as happy to have finally left the States. But fate had it that I would end up in Nara, just as Ryoko had started at Doshisha University, and I fell in love with Japan, hard. And since then I've wanted to go back, over and over and over.. so I did.

Part of my mixed feelings towards Greece are as I mentioned before-- lack of like-minded friends. Other issues are not so much a difference in culture as a difference in class. And another big point, which I didn't clearly realize until I was typing this post.. there are a lot of things about Greece that Costas doesn't like. He has chosen to live here. When we're here he'll complain about America, when we're there he complains about Greece. But my introduction to Greek culture came not only with my own observations but also with his point of view. Ah. Now I see things more clearly. Greece is a very passionate country. Things there make sense in the right context. Same as with all other places, right? It's so true, but not always so easy to remember.

Anyway, thanks for listening to my long rambling post. I treated my sour mood of last week with a healthy dose of sewing (pics to follow shortly) and a few of Regina Spektor's songs on repeat in the car, especially this one.

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