When you are young, you don’t appreciate how much of an opportunity it is to travel. When I was 14, my parents took me and my sister to London, England for a week. I fell in love. With everything–the 8 hour flight, the funny accents, the complete sarcasm the entire British population seemed to have, the overwhelming amount of death and destruction that England has seen, and of course, the Royal Family.
I thought it was Disenyland. This place only existed when I was there, and went back to normal when I returned to Atlanta.
But as I grew older, I started understanding that there is a world that does not include me. After my first semester of college, my father decided to take us all on a cruise down the Danube for Christmas. (My mother was pissed because it was so cold–and this trip was in place of her wish to go to Paris in the Spring.)
I saw pockets of Germany–cities like Nuremberg, Passau, and Regensbourg. I also enjoyed seeing the marvels of Austria–Vienna, Melk Abbey, and Linz. My love for this different culture grew. I wanted nothing more than to learn a new language and pretend I was European.
That summer, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. (I wanted to pick up some Spanish because everyone speaks it in America now.) I saw Barcelona, I saw Lisbon, Portugal, and even Paris, France. I loved every minute of it and wished I could be as smart as the locals, as pretty as the Spanish girls, and know five languages like the Portuguese.
But I’m not even close to European. I’m an americana, through and through, born and raised in the South and proud of it. People like to say Americans are ignorant and uncultured, but its the same as saying the Spanish nap all the time and the Italians are lazy and don’t pay their taxes. Cultures are different–and being American is unique, same as being from India or Namibia–we all have our roots and mine were planted and nurtured in the melting pot of the New World.