There is no such thing as American't.
I think I have mentioned before that I get asked a lot of questions asked by Americans about living abroad, and Ireland in particular because it seems like such a special thing to do. And, sure, it is because what other situation can you go from feeling vastly superior to the rest of the world (Don't tell me you weren't taught this in primary school) right down to a place where you feel like there is no one listening to you besides your poor significant other who married you and now has to endure your rants with a big broad smile and a sympathetic ear? Being an American expat will do that. And most non-expats will tell you that it was a very bad idea to put yourself in this position in the first place.
And then every so often I will be bombarded by questions about just being an American. Like it’s a state of being. Like it’s worth talking about at all. This list is long and sometimes funny, sometimes offensive but always think I have imparted a little bit of wisdom onto someone who is NOT AMERICAN when I’m done. Some gems are:
1. Do you own a gun?
2. Why don’t Americans like black people?
3. Were you the prom queen? Did anyone get drunk at your prom and then was told they couldn’t graduate with their friends so you held a protest?
4. Do you love George Bush?
5. Do you know where Iraq is on a map?
I actually feel these are all legit questions and only mildly offensive in nature but only because they are based on stereotypes alone. I think stereotypes are there because there has to be a smidgen of truth to them. A lot of Americans own guns – my family included. And a lot of Americans love George Bush and that’s why we don’t let my parents vote anymore.
But I do think the main difference can be seen is how people in relationships behave. People often find it shocking that I married Bub after knowing him for such a short amount of time, and this isn’t because they think we should have been more cautious. They are just in awe that I got an Irishman to marry me without seeing me for 9 years, buying a house together and consider having children out of wedlock before his mother pressured him into making the family respectable and not just shacking up with the American girl.
Luckily for all involved he proposed without having his face broken by my father. You know, the American way of doing things.