Thursday, July 01, 2010

Discovering Who I Am

Does living abroad help define you as a person? Before I moved abroad I defined myself like this: one-quarter Italian, one-quarter Polish, one-fifth English, 12.5 percent Danish, 10.5 percent Swedish and seven percent German. That was me. Really.

But while I could easily pass for a European with my name alone, there was, unfortunately, the rest of me. My language options were English or English; I thought all cheese was bright orange; and I wore things like sweatpants – in public.

I had a lot to learn. It wasn't until one day, a few months after moving to Switzerland, that I looked down at my Nikes as I was standing among a sea of stilettos and realized something: I was an American.

Happy 4th of July.


To read more, check out my essay, Hello Heritage, in Swiss News this month.

6 comments:

Kristin said...

Wow, you really broke it down with the percentages and everything, lol =)

Chantal said...

Please tell me I'm not the only one that does this :)

Stephersplatz said...

I think a lot of Americans do this. Mine is a bit simpler: 75% Polish, 25% Czech.
:-)

mrschlosser said...

Every so often I would don a pair of jeans, t-shirt/sweatshirt, sneakers and baseball cap (never worn by females here in Switzerland) and go walk the streets Zurich. It made me feel very American and was always a good pick-me-up to my feeling homesick. Odd, but true.

Chantal said...

Maybe we should all do this in honor of the 4th!

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