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.


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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