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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Love Thy Nationality

There’s a lot of shame out there.  I say, whatever you are, wherever your national origins, love them.  Easier said than done for some.

Take yesterday.  It was “Flag Day” here in the U.S.  So I dutifully bought my little flags to plant in our flower pots around the front door.  Naturally, in my rush to get out the door, I didn’t plant them early in the morning.

Returning late afternoon, it somehow made sense to my overly-tired mind that the little ones would no longer do.  Instead, I needed two larger flags to plant with Purpose and Meaning, as if to say to all passersby, “I didn’t forget.”  So I bought and displayed those.  I reassured my little flag friends that they could come out and play on July 4th or thereabouts.

I love my country.  Even if I lived in a repressive country, I’d be the kind to try and make a difference, I think.

We once had a man working on our house and Benedetto felt that he had an Arabic accent.  My husband asked if he and his partner might like some tea, inquiring in Arabic.  The man almost fell off his ladder and answered him about his origins.  Later he came to my husband, head hanging down.

“Sir, I am very sorry.  You have been nothing but kind to us.  I have lied to you.  I am really from Iraq.”

This was around the time of our problems with Saddam Hussein.  The man felt that no American would accept him if he said he was Iraqi.  Benedetto reassured him, that whatever our leaders, we could still be proud of our nationality, but that he understood his desire to be vague.

It’s often common for adopted children to hate their origins.  Either they don’t know anything about their homeland, having left at a young age, or else they have memories, and what they remember is not good.

“I hate being Russian,” Sashenka will tell me upon occasion.

“First of all, we don’t use the word ‘hate’ for anything– food, people, life– and second of all, how can you hate yourself?” I stroke her back.

“Russians are bad,” she reasons.

“Some may be.  But you’re Russian, I’m Russian, Dyedushka (grandpa) is Russian….” I list several delightful Russians that we know.

Reason seems to have very little to do with it.

We have another young friend, adopted from China, Italian-American parents, who claims she’s Scottish.  Okaaaay.

I believe it’s normal in childhood to “try on” different personas, to pick and choose how you want to present yourself.  Nationality is not an aspect that you necessarily have to think about every day, that’s as important, say, as whether to paint your fingernails lime green or ocean blue, whether to gel your hair straight up, or figure out if that cute guy or girl is really looking at you.

There’s a lot going on.

So since you may be a bit distracted for now, let me encourage you:  Love thyself.  The world will be a better place.

Thank you for listening to this message.



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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sarah says:

    My kids had their Russian Flag raising on Wednesday at school! It was a wonderful day. The school is decorated in red white and blue and Russian flags. Their Russian teacher spoke about Russia. They play the national anthem and the Russian children at the school all raise the flag together. My kids were so proud! The looks on their faces in their Russian Bosco Olympic shirts are just amazing! Our agency wants me to post the pictures and video on their Facebook page so if you are interested you could see it there.

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