I am not really celebrating the 4th of July this year, unless you count my foray down to the good old Starbucks for a coffee somehow patriotic. I don't have any close American friends here in Korea and it's kind of hard to get other people excited about our bully nation that continues to shun diplomacy and flex its aggressive muscles of money and power rather than those of compassion and fairplay. Although I am not in full support of our government's decisions and the fact that they refuse to give up their UN veto, I still love my country. There are so many things to appreciate, and being away from home makes those things seem even more precious. I do not think America's government is in the right. But I do know that the American people have the power to change that and I hope change comes quickly. And that's one thing I am grateful for: our ability to change things we don't like. I have been boiling with rage, most of it aimed at our foreign policies after reading up on a few things, like our history in the Middle East and our consistent approval of all things Israel. But today, despite the title of my blog, this post is not about rage. It is about being thankful and looking back at where I came from and how America has shaped me as an individual and a world citizen. And so, I now give you a list. Because everyone loves lists. Lists are like the second best thing to donuts. And a list with donuts on it is tops.
Reasons Why I Love America
1. Krispy Kreme! Thank you corporate America for expanding your borders and setting up shop in countries like Korea so that I can be tempted to devour hundreds of your pleasure-inducing confectionary treats.
2. Noise Violation Policies. In America, you can call the cops and they'll shut down the party or remove the guy with the bullhorn standing on your corner at 3 am. In Korea, there is no such thing. And because the buildings are so high, everything echoes and becomes three times as loud. And when Koreans fight, they fight. Like with screaming and crying and throwing and breaking things. And the election people can blare their propaganda up and down your street at 6 am or midnight from the bullhorn on their stupid truck. And it's not against the law. Dang. Seriously, Korea needs to set up some Disturbance of the Peace Laws.
3. Personal space and the mothers who teach their kids that staring is WRONG. Oh Koreans! Watch some TV. See the white people and GET OVER IT. We're not big news anymore. You don't have to watch my every move. And you can close your mouth, at least. And back up off my toes.
4. Sweet Tea. Oh God Bless the South!
5. I can go to any country and basically have entry for 3 months with only a passport.
6. Chik-fil-A. As far as I know, the franchise hasn't branched out overseas as of yet.
7. My Wifey. I met my Wifey, Kerri, my freshman year in college and I am still convinced she is the other half of me. She's the nicer half! No one on this planet could replace her.
8. Free Condiments!!! Except for Zaxby's. And they need to stop charging for the extra sauce. I mean, it's Zax sauce. It's what they're famous for. Don't you think you should be able to get it in abundance?
9. Voluntary Enlistment in our Armed Forces. Here in Korea, every male must give two years of his life to the military. Unless he claims he's a Jehovah's Witness because then violence goes against his religion. I was accosted by a Korean Jehovah's Witness in the mall once. She was ruthless, man. I told her that I already knew Jesus Christ and had read the Bible, so she didn't need to convince me of anything. Good grief. It took me 10 minutes to get away from her!
10. Reasonable Working Hours. Thank You Lord for the Unions. In Korea, as I've mentioned before, work is your life. It comes first. No matter what. You got sick and needed your appendix out? Well, that's fine, but when can you be back at work because it shouldn't take you that long to recover. You have a family gathering to attend? Too bad. I need to discuss some important matters with you at 10pm that can't wait until tomorrow. What? We told you working hours were until 6:30pm? Make that more like 9:30 or 10:00. This country's obsession with dedication and service in the workplace is understandable, but no longer quite as necessary. Although the country's circumstances have changed, the businessman's routine has not adjusted with the economic and social changes. (Can you tell my boyfriend works late? And it enrages me?)
11. Fat. Fat, fat, fat, fat, fat. I know that America's obesity problem is not one to be proud of and it's something that needs to change. But I like feeling as if I have permission to be over a size 2. I like being able to walk into stores and not have to ask if they have "big-guh siz-uh." I like walking around outlet malls without the clerks asking me if I'm pregnant (true story. Last Wednesday). I cannot believe the superficial culture that reigns supreme here. I can know in my head that I am not a whale. I can tell myself all day long that I am not a whale. But when everyone and everything makes me feel like a whale, none of that can counteract it.
And that's it for my patriotism. I've never been real gung-ho for the whole God Bless the USA. Because I've never understood why He should bless us more than He should bless any other country. But right now, I understand that America need's God's blessing. A blessing of openness and fairness, a blessing of truth, a blessing of caring about people more than caring about power and money. So God, bless away.