Okay, so the fireworks have come and gone, but the spirit of July 4 is still with me.
It will always be very special to me — as an immigrant I sometimes still have to pinch myself. I’m really here. I really do get to live in this amazing country!
When I came here as a graduate student, I was absolutely blown away by that sense of “can do” spirit, and the idea that achievement is something everybody was not only allowed but expected to go after.
That kind of attitude didn’t fit in quite as well where I grew up — I was supposed to be a lot more modest in my goals than I was, and stick to my place so to speak.
Here, though, it’s “Be all you can be” and it’s not just a slogan for the army but people really believe it. I love it.
So here I am, striving to be all I can be. And celebrating that I’m in a country where this is appreciated and even expected. Sure, there can be a lot of pressure at times, but the rewards are great as well.
And yes, getting that Green Card wasn’t easy. For years I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to get one. But I did, and when I drove myself across the country in a huge Hertz truck to get to my new job, I was suddenly finding myself driving past cities and towns that I had read about in my youth back in Germany. It was a major goosebumps moment when I realized that. How’d that happen!
So as I was watching the Fourth of July fireworks the other day, as I do every year, I got seriously choked up, as I do every year as well.
I hope you had a great July 4th too.