Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The one where I get all patriotic

 I'm welling with patriotism this week for various reasons, the first being that Sunday is Independence Day. I haven't been in America for the 4th of July for 7 years so am looking forward to celebrating big time.

Feeding the flame of my fervor, Dan received his permanent green card in the mail this week to bring  closure to year long journey toward residency. This thing is out of control: it feels like it could withstand a nuclear explosion, is fitted with a wireless tracking device (got to keep those Brits in check), comes with its own aluminum carrying case and must be on his person at all times. And yes, it IS green. We are both delighted.

And then, the World Cup. Yes, I know that team USA is out already. And yes, I don't really understand all the rules to soccer/ football (how are the poor goalies expected to catch the ball with those Mickey Mouse gloves?!), but that doesn't stop me from being incredibly proud. Last Wednesday (7am), singing the national anthem ahead of the Algeria game at the George and Dragon pub (hand on heart, naturally), I was really feeling it. When Landon Donovan scored the game winning point when most hope was gone,  I was ecstatic.

And then there's the fans! Without the pressure of expectation, we'd take anything. The hundred or so people who lined up at 5.45am to snag good seats were doing it for the love of the game. There was this huge sense of positivity and community that made me feel like, yes, I've been away, but this is still my home.

Watching the World Cup made me think that the US really comes into its own as the scrappy underdog. As a team not expected to do well, they gave it so much heart and did surprisingly well. I really see the American spirit as one of the little guy challenging status quo through hard work and a can-do attitude (and some luck, thanks Robert Green). I know this isn't how the US is seen in the rest of the world, sadly, but this is still what I love about America. In our hearts we're still the little guy.

It's hard though when the little guy becomes the big guy. Like Starbucks or Microsoft, the big guy is easy to hate. Personalities DO change the bigger you get, entitlement sneaks in, your actions are more preservative than aspirational. But I love stripping all that down and remembering our humble beginnings. The World Cup makes that easy because in the soccer world we're still the underdog.

I know I'm not the only one who thinks this because yesterday at Oddfellows (!) I was overhearing the conversation next to me. One of the guys was like, "It's so refreshing to watch the US play a sport we're not very good at." I think there are plenty more closet underdogs walking around the United States of America, wishing they didn't have to deal with the baggage of a culture that's become obsessed with success.

Anyway, all this to say, I'm so glad to be back home. I definitely had to leave to appreciate America, and specifically Seattle, but now that I've returned, I feel like I'm rediscovering my country again, and I love the spirit that bubbles beneath the surface.

{Photos by AtypicalArt & riptheskull}


Brianne said...

great post Alisha! Your enthusiasm has officially spread to me ;)

Lisa Kelsey said...

This is making me wish I was at home for the 4th of July this year!

Congrats on the job, too, just saw that post.

Also, I'll have to send you an email about Rachael and I's attempt at your city guide. I'm afraid it ended with a trip to the doctor and sprained ankle for me! Will fill you in.

competitivemum said...

great post, I envy your countries patriotism and right now I envy there footballing skills because we were rubbish!

Nadine said...

Beautiful post! Congrats on the official green card!!

Anonymous said...

hi, alisha! my name is alisha tan! i found this site today. i have lived in japan too. i'd love to visit seattle someday.

alisha said...

Hi Alisha Tan! Welcome to the blog. You're welcome to visit Seattle and Seattleite Imagery anytime. :)

alisha tan said...

thank u for your quick response,alisha! btw, have you comed to our country?

alisha said...

Hi Alisha Tan, I'm not sure - where is your country?

alisha tan said...

i'm sorry, i live in singapore.

alisha said...

Alisha, I have visited Singapore and loved it! I was only there for a few days though.

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