Red, White, and Blue

I keep getting asked if I am happy to be home, or if I wish I was still living overseas. This is a complicated question and there isn’t an easy answer. Overall, I say yes, I am happy to be home again in the United States, and more especially California, but I miss several aspects of the European, expat lifestyle as well.

I miss the friendships the most and the slower pace of life. I miss our travel around the world, exploring new lands and cultures and living in Holland and exploring and adapting to the local way of life the best I could.

Being away also made me appreciate all that is good in America. Sometimes the media makes it sound like America is broken, but I don’t believe all of it. For some reason, it seems normal to talk about all the negativity and I don’t understand that. I would like to see and share more stories about why America is great and why so many immigrants want to become citizens of this great country and all that it offers.

This morning there was an article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that made me appreciate living here and proud to be an American. I am also thankful and proud to have European roots. They are not mutually exclusive. I just think its time to change the conversation and focus on what’s good again in the USA, and celebrate our roots too.

The WSJ article, “Why I Chose the Red, White and Blue,” by Philip Delves Broughton, mentions receiving a certificate of naturalization from President Obama after being sworn in as a citizen. It says, “Since our founding, generations of immigrants have come to this country full of hope for a brighter future, and they have made sacrifices in order to pass that legacy on to their children and grandchildren. This is the price and promise of citizenship. You are now part of this precious history, and you serve as an inspiration to those who will come after you.”

I believe this is a good reminder for all of us living here. We are part of the experience and creating history. We have a duty to one another to continue to do great things and to continue to make our country amazing. That comes from being of service, helping one another and working hard, doing the right thing. It also comes from being able to vote and to have a say in what we believe. There are so many things we do well and enjoy on this great land, like watching football games and bonding with our like minded friends who dress in the same team colors and root for the same team.

These are a few things that create happiness. I am happy to be home (and still miss Holland.)

Life is good.

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Day 21: 3 Weeks Until We Move!

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So 3 weeks from today we’ll be on an airplane to the Netherlands. I think it was about 4 months ago that this crazy idea began to germinate. We’ve done so much to prepare and most of the big items are done. When I agreed to this idea of being expats, I told my husband that I am happy to go and that I wanted to do everything I could beforehand to enjoy all the goodness that surrounds me. The crazy thing is I think I’ve packed more excitement into the past 4 months than I have in years. I’m thankful for this amazing gift of appreciation and time and awareness and for my supportive family and friends. I’m awestruck to say the least!!

When I started this blog 100+ days ago and called it: Here I Am, it was to commit to being fully present and living life in the moment. I like this feeling. I feel fulfilled and wish everyone the same joy. Remind me of this if I ever falter.

Being here and being the Fourth of July and attending the USA gymnastics Olympic trials this week and playing outside makes me aware of how much I love being an American. I love the flag, our patriotism, our national anthem, even our money. I’m aware that I will miss our American Holidays even though I look forward to the European ones. I’m excited and accept the changes that are to come and know this is an amazing opportunity yet I’m aware of the costs even though I know I’m coming back one day. Ying and yang. It’s all good.

The kids and I took all the coins we’ve been saving around the house and brought them to the Coinstar machine to be sorted and counted. We had over $200 in random coins! It was fun for them to feed the machine and watch the ticker count away. They were happy because they got to divide up the proceeds.
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So with that, I hope you celebrated with BBQs and watermelon, friendship and sparklers, fireworks and dessert and had an amazing day!

P.S. I’m taking a fitness vacation over the next few days and may not have internet access, so will catch up again as I can. xo

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