While thousands pour into the United States every year, and others sit in refugee camps with nothing but a hope and a prayer that they could have the opportunity to come to the U.S., I have spent many many a day living as a reluctant American.
When I first arrived here years ago from Liberia, I was a kid and just thought that the U.S. was great. But it didn't take me long to figure out that life here was so far from easy. I often questioned why my mom chose to come to this country, instead of going to another African country or even back to Germany where she had lived for many years instead of living here. Like many immigrant parents, she (and other family members) told me about how the U.S. was a place of opportunity; where, with a lot of fight, one can go out into the world and be whatever they wanted to be. But I was not buying her lines at the time and continued to only think about living abroad again as soon as I was old enough.
After studying abroad in Spain, I was convinced that life in Europe was just so much cooler and at 21, I would have gladly given a vital body part to live permanently in London, or Paris or Madrid again. But I came back to the U.S. and spent more years plotting my way out. I eventually did and found myself in Kenya/Sudan. After a year of many joys and whole lot of frustration, I was glad to be back in the U.S., but that feeling lasted about 5 months before I wanted to be abroad again. At the first chance I got, I was off again.
I tell you all of this to explain why I have been moved and changed by this election. When I heard the news I was completely overwhelmed and it only dawned on me yesterday that that feeling was one of overflowing pride. The media and bloggers in other countries have written about how the world has a renewed hope in the U.S. and for the first time, I can totally relate! For the first time, I can see what my mom and so many others have seen in this country. While I a part of my will always have a small bag packed and ready for another foreign adventure, at this moment, I am so glad that I live here, that this is a country that I can claim as my own not only because my passport says so, but because I can't think of anywhere else where so many different people come together on such a national scale for a singular purpose. Who wouldn't be proud to be part of that?!?!?!?