This is coming a little late, but I've been busy!
I got a new job...a post on that will come...and my students have (finally) actually been showing up! Which means I have to actually do lesson plans--it's not all fun and games in the South of France! Also, I've had to clean my studio and go to the laundromat and...and...
MAKE THANKSGIVING DINNER!
Yes, I decided to celebrate it this year with my gals--fellow teaching assistants and Europeans all--who had never eaten Thanksgiving dinner before. I made all the fixin's to be as authentic as possible: turkey (just cutlets), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes and black beans, and pumpkin pie! The only thing I couldn't get was cranberry sauce. So, I bought red currant preserves and warmed them up...good enough for me, though I'm sure purists are gnashing their teeth.
I've noticed myself become slowly more patriotic the longer I live abroad. I would like to examine why, but that probably also deserves its own blog post. It might be homesickness, or re-forging an identity after forging an anti-identity as an "ex-pat" wannabe. I haven't lived abroad that long, but I feel as if I'm more accepting of my "American" moniker than I was when I was a student, for example. It might be in part that the American image abroad is improving, or that I'm becoming more mature and thus more accepting of my roots, culture, etc. I don't particularly identify with what is "typically American" but in a way, I don't have a choice when I'm seen as "the American."
And boy, do they know I'm American! It's not like in Austria, where I think some of the teachers (granted, ones I didn't work with) either mixed me up with the TA from the last year or made up a history for me in their heads. One day in early December I was in the teachers' room and the snow started coming down hard. One of the math teachers was sitting next to me. He leaned over and asked, "Does it snow like this in Scotland?"
To which I said, "I wouldn't know. Never been."
I hope, in embracing my nationality in small ways like this, I'm not turning into an Ugly American. That, after all, would be counter productive to being a "cultural ambassador" or whatever the heck I am.