Carol Bontekoe

This blog has been keeping track of my adventures since 2004. The stories and the adventures have come from my college dorm room to Uganda, Peace Corps Kyrgyzstan, learning Dutch in the Netherlands to living in the wilds of Homer, Alaska. I went back to school in Amsterdam to study Theaterwetenschap (Theatre Science) at University of Amsterdam. And now my adventures as a Fruit Fly, a Sexy Unicorn, and creating a movement with Team Sparkle in Chicago.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm an American!

Every Tuesday night I have a two hour Dutch lesson in the capitol of Friesland. I have to drive an hour each way and bath the kiddies early in order to go and study Dutch. It isn't convienent(this is like my sixth try to spell that word, I give up on it... you should know what word I'm goign for) I also seem to be the only one who consistently does her homework. I have also put in a lot of effort to change my teacher's orignal preseption of me. I think all was lost his past Tuesday. In my class there were only three of us that were none European. One Chinese Girl and a Ugandan girl. There used to be couple more Americans and Africans but they have stopped coming. So, I am the token American. I am the American Embassy right there for anyone who needs to vent over the world problem of America.
However, this past Tuesday it didn't start out aggressive but it stung more than any comment that someone could have made about Bush's forgien policy.
It started with the comment:
"Canadians are also Americans."
In Dutch my teacher started talking about how she had family in America. just about everyone in the class had at least one relative living in America right now. Then the Italian girl said she too had family in America. I asked, "Oh, where do they live?" Canada.
Well, sorry honey then they live in North America but they don't live in America.
Everyone started talking at once in broken English and Dutch and whatever other language they speak. But mine was the only one that mattered. I was the only North American there.I was the only American there.
I have my reasons for feeling this way.
a.) REAL Americans have no other name to go by. We aren't called United Staters no that whole first part is cut out when you are talking on a global view of America. I shouted on about how Canadians come from Canada, Americans come from America. My teacher said, "je komt uit Verenigde Staten"(you come from United States) I shouted back, " van Amerika!" (of America) she let me have that point
b. I went on with the fact that Canadian's haven't earned the right to be called Americans. People don't view Canadians as a threat. Their culture of maple syrup and hokey hasn't been spread all over the world, they aren't blamed for all problems in the world. Americans are. We wake up everyday being hated for the simple fact that we elected Bush... Twice. I have earned that title of American: I'm loud, I'm Pushy, and I fat. I have American locked up in my gentic code. Surviving cold winters doesn't make Candians as thick skinned as an American living abroad must be.
c. One girl was like Canada, America they are right next to each other who knows th difference. She is Romanian and I couldn't think of who Romania is next to. So, I couldn't properly insult her by not knowing the difference, but I'll let her know that your average American with a Public School education has never even heard of her country. Mexico is right next to us too. and just cuz we have porious borders it doesn't mean every Mexican is an American. yet.
D. And finally what I feel was good point. I don't think Canadians want to be called Americans. Maybe North Americans but nothing any closer than that. The greatest challenge would be if Candians start telling people they are Americans when they are abroad. If as a collective whole they start doing that, than maybe... just maybe I'll let this whole issue drop and say Canadians are also Americans. Cuz lord knows when I'm abroad I've been know to fudge that line... Michigan... Canada when your talking to people who live in a country that America has screwed over than Michiganders might as well be Canadians. I mean it's cold and we have similiar nasally accents. Although, I always end up getting caught. Cuz if you say Canada the conversation always goes to hokey and I can't help myself I have to inform people that the Maple leaves suck and the Red Wings Rule!!!! Aren't the Red Wings in America? oh, I think your right and I think that is my bus! See ya!


  1. Anonymous said...

    Hi there! I will introduce myself, I'm Annie and just back from a year being an au pair in America! I live in Nijemirdum. I heard about you that you were an au pair in Oudemirdum. So I looked on the internet. How long are you already in Holland and do you like the live here? My emailadress is I Was just wondering how you like it here! bye bye

  2. becky said...

    i can totally picture you having this argument :P