I'm not American. But America's meant a lot of different things to me over the past few years. Before I left for Korea, America was a place that I loved to travel to, loved to learn about in school, but it wasn't my home. Then I moved to the other side of the world. Canada, and Toronto specifically, had always been my home. But when you're living in a place so unlike everything you've ever known, "home" becomes what is familiar. I found myself celebrating the Fourth of July, just like Americans over there celebrated Canada Day. It was just a celebration of home.
Kyle's never been a "yeah! America!" kind of guy. Around 2008 is when he said he felt pride in his country for the first time in his life. Things happening and changing back in America were a huge part of that, but I think that it was being so far away that really made him redefine what America, his home, meant to him. I think we really started to think of America as "home," together. Almost like we were discovering it anew. We'd spend countless Korean evenings daydreaming about the road trips we wanted to take when we got back and the American cities we wanted to live in. We envisioned building a life there. We wanted it to be home.
Now we're here. We're building a life. I'm a permanent resident with a green card (yes, they're actually green!) No one knows I'm not American when they look at me and talk to me. I think that's the unique circumstance of being a Canadian in America. I know I'm not, and I know that I'll always be Canadian, but the Fourth of July is still special to me. It makes me nostalgic for my time overseas, as ironic as that is. It reminds me that I'm here, in this place we'd always dreamed of calling home.
I remember when we left Korea for the last time, our first stop was in Dallas. I'd never been to Texas before—never even close. But when I walked off the plane and into the airport, I had this overwhelming sense of feeling profoundly at home. It flooded over me and everything felt familiar and comfortable and just sort of right, all at once.
Happy Fourth :)
photo taken by our very good friend, Daniel Chase Peach.