I like to complain. A lot. And I’m a passionate person, so I complain loudly. One of my favorite things to complain about is my country. Why are politics so corrupt? Why does America do things so differently from the way the rest of the world does it? Why isn’t the American culture perfect?
That being said, I wasn’t expecting to be quite so proud of my own culture when I moved to Spain. Point blank, I love my country more now than I ever did.
Language gets confusing
I’ve always been incredibly aware of language. I always notice the typos in ebooks and I’m usually proofreading the conversation we’re having in my head. That being said, I’m much more aware of language than the average person. Lately, however, actively learning Spanish is throwing a curveball to my ability to use language at all! I’m catching myself Spanglishing all over the place – from “I explain you” to “I trust on you” – and having to second-guess my grammar.
I know more English than you
Yeah, I never paid attention in school. Especially in English class, when the material was so easy! Thanks to my newfound status as an English teacher, though, I’m learning more about my own language than I had ever thought about. Listening to my teachers explain rules to our ESL students – rules that just kind of…make sense, you know? – gives me a new perspective. Understanding how ESL students see the rules I actively use in everyday conversation allows me to see English more objectively. Why do you pronounce the ‘e’ in ‘started’ but not in ‘crossed’? Simple rules like these are really opening my mind as to how the English language really works.
Differences in culture
I talk a lot about culture. Learning a new culture has taught me to appreciate the culture that I have known all my life, especially the things I didn’t understand before moving abroad. For example, a big part of the American culture is to be proud to be an American (where at least I know I’m free!). Six months ago, I thought this was obnoxious. But now that I live among people from all different cultures, I’m proud of the culture I come from. I’m proud of my country’s beginnings and its personality.
More on patriotism
This past Thanksgiving, my school asked me to do a presentation on the holiday. Presentations are my favorite, because not only do the students love them, but I get to be creative and play videos about culture, my favorite subject.
And then, they asked the British teacher to do the same. I was so surprised at my disappointment! It’s not an English holiday, it’s American! I had become so proud of my own country without realizing it; when I told some friends how I felt, they said nothing more than “who cares?”. But I did. Because I’m an American constantly surrounded by Spaniards, and my home and my culture is different from theirs, so I was excited to boast about it!