I am American (and Unapologetically So)

I have been blessed to look culturally ambiguous. I was born in Korea, speak Spanish, raised in the USA and have the normal brown hair, brown eyes and tan skin. I’ve never stood out when I’ve traveled. (Thank you Jesus for that.) When new friends ask where I’m from I always tell them New Mexico (which surprisingly people from other countries know where this is….that’s surprising because people from the US don’t). I never lie, like a Spanish teacher once told me to, and reply I’m from Canada, Korea or some other country. Why would I?

Ex-pats sometimes seem to apologize when people in their new country find out they’re from the USA. Why? Are they apologizing for the past or the present? Maybe people apologize because of the stereotype of US travelers. Are they apologizing for the loud tourists or entitled visitors the locals might have encountered in the past.

Living in a developed nation we like things fast and we like things our way and comfortable. Traveling doesn’t always allow for these. You might not get to sleep on a comfortable bed every night when you travel. Or have the freedom to talk to everyone, or even plan your own day. The coffee shops might just give you a tiny cup of straight espresso, and not a venti-sized drink. These are all ok, but it’s ok that you’re a little bit American in these situations too. I certainly did not enjoy using the bathroom next to chickens for two weeks (I have huge dislike of birds). I would have much rather been using the bathroom INSIDE and with sterile conditions, but that’s because that’s where I’m most comfortable. There is no way in hell (or earth) that I enjoyed being covered from the neck down in 100+ degree temperatures, wearing shorts and swimming in the ocean would have been much more comfortable. But I did those because I love to experience new cultures and I embrace new adventures. Who doesn’t enjoy the freedom (and safety) of being able to go run in the morning or a comfy bed and air conditioning? Or being able to drive your own car wherever you want?! It’s nothing to be ashamed about or feel guilty over. Don’t apologize for preferring something you’re use to over a change—BUT don’t complain about a change you chose to experience either!

Every country has differences, so I see no need to apologize for where I’m from. It’s not perfect, but neither am I.

I am from the USA. Judge me for it, I don’t care. I love breaking stereotypes.

That’s the reason I am unapologetically American. Not Americans are all loud, entitled and obnoxious- it’s an individual and I hope people see me on an individual level.

(I by ANY means am not the perfect traveler. I walk slower than locals, I gawk at unfamiliar scenes, and I certainly never know every cultural taboo (which leads to great stories)


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