On the 13th morning of our two week tour of Turkey a couple from Spain and I shared a ride down to the lobby in the Pera Palace elevator. The husband asked me, "Where are you from?"
After, seven years in China I gave up on, "the States” or "the US,” and went with the Chinese answer, "America.” Everywhere, Cyprus, Athens, and especially Turkey I always followed that up with "but, I live in China.” I didn’t tell people that I was a waif in China, I wanted to soften my American label into a sophisticated, non-confrontational world class expat one. I wanted to be stereotyped as a Jimmy Carter type American, not one of those George ‘W’ 'Axis of evil' Bush characters.
However, Sr. Espana, fell all over himself with, "America is the best country in the world. I lived in California for a year.”
Since, I still haven’t matured enough emotionally to just accept a compliment with a simple thank you, and I didn’t want to negate his experience (rain in his Spanish plain) with my six miserable winters in Cleveland, all that I could do was mumble a feeble gracias. Everywhere we went, Jane and I received nothing but good vibrations, nothing like my 1985 Egyptian gig where the safest answer was "I’m from Brazil.”
Judging from their body language it seemed to me that being an American was now okay and let the post 9/11 activities and 2008 Lehman Brothers disaster pass, sooner rather than later. The second best country to emigrate to was Germany but given a choice they’d all take North America over Europe. Not only that, now that the world was in such a mess they wanted the US to fix it. Not that we are 100% to blame but if we don't fix it who will?
Good question, I don’t know. I just want to be an expat and live off my Social Security check in some other place besides Florida.
It was my come to Jesus moment. "Have you accepted America as your Lord and Savior?” As an American what are you going to do about this situation?”
I’m sorry please forgive me father I know not what I am doing. I promise to register to vote in 2016 to help elect the putative world savior.