Saturday, July 12, 2008

Americana 1

An over-sized, slightly tattered American flag flies over a pancake house in Ellensburg,Washington

Since I've lived in a foreign country for almost two decades, people often ask me if I "still feel American." Of course I do, but I realize that my vision of the USA is constricted by the geographical limits of my visits here: mainly Olympia, with an occasional hop up to Seattle or down to Portland.

So for me, it's the Pacific Northwest all the way, every time.

A friend recently told me he thought Pacific Northwesterners took themselves "way too seriously." Is that the case? If so, does it explain why I still feel so at home here? And why so many bloggers I relate to seem to have a PNW connection?

Last summer I did break out of my green cocoon and took a road trip to Colorado with my family. As soon as I crossed the Cascades and got "east of the mountains," I knew I was in a different world.

A pancake house was our first stop on a short but revealing journey that reminded me to think beyond Puget Sound when I am asked about the USA.


Randal Graves said...

I think we're bound to at least subconsciously project our regional view of America as being like the rest of the country. Sure, we 'know' that the Northeast and the Southwest aren't the same, but it's as if we wait for any other place to show us that they're different. "You mean everyone doesn't act like they're a Midwesterner?"

Betty C. said...

True. Also, the fact of living in a foreign country means I'm often asked to talk about the USA as a whole - -and rather than risk sounding like an idiot who knows nothing about her own country, I plead guilty to some generalizing based on my own region. I often say "It's such a huge country that it's hard to generalize, BUT....blah blah blah my experience blah blah where I come from blah."

Margaret said...

I don't feel like we take ourselves that seriously at all. There are quite a few more greens and vegetarians in this part of the country than (perhaps) in the rest of the US and some of them are very issue-driven. My older daughter is a little that way.

Daniel Spiro said...

You know, there is more to America than the West. The people out there are more self-absorbed, for one thing (and not nearly as nice as Mid-Westerners). For another, we have more history in the East.

But yes, life is more pleasant in the West -- or at least it tends to be for me.