INTRO: The big question, what is the American creed? My answer may not apply to everyone because the obvious answer is that it doesn't apply to everyone in the same way. People who immigrated here are going to have different answers than people who were born here or have had their family live here throughout generations. For me, the American creed has been an interesting experience.
Here's a little background: I lived in Romania when I was young and at some point I was fluent in Romanian. I recently went back to visit my family and realized how much I had been missing. Growing up and going to school in America, I lost most of my fluency in Romanian because I was still at the age where my language could be influenced. Visiting Romania I could understand the language, but had trouble speaking it fluently. My mother, on the other hand, grew up there and came to America in 1998; she had a much different experience.
My experience was different, but altogether interesting because I was never fully “American” like my friends , but not fully Romanian either; this is what makes my life unique. America is a mix of races and cultures and thats what makes America, a blend of different people with different experiences. One experience for example is my mother who I interviewed about her life:
Me: Why did you decide to come to America?
Mom: I have decided to come to the United States after I graduated from college, in 1998. I studied English at the University of Bucharest and I wanted to continue my studies in English. Being right after college, I thought this would be a great adventure. I wanted to travel and to experience new cultures.
Me: What does it mean to be an American for you?
Mom: For me, being an American is a privilege. I am happy and proud to be here. I think that being an American is not just a piece of paper that grants one citizenship rights; it is a process, an adventure; it takes sacrifice and determination. It is living between two worlds and merging two cultures.
Me: Tell me about back home.
Mom: I grew up in Romania. I lived there until I finished college. I studied Theology and English. I taught Religion and English as a Foreign Language in Bucharest. Romania is a beautiful country, full of history and great people. The people of Romania have gone through a lot, including being part of the Eastern Communist bloc, from 1945-1989; this is what made us more resilient and close to one another.
Growing up Romanian my mom spoke to my brother and I like this:
Andra, cum a fost la scoala astazi? Sper ca ai avut o zi buna.Ce-ai invatat? Cand ajungem acasa trebuie sa faci curat in camera ta si sa ma ajuti sa pregatesc cina. Am avut o zi lunga si obositoare.
Hearing my mom’s stories while growing up and understanding the sacrifices she made for us, really makes me think about what it really means to be an American. The American creed is different and unique for everyone, but the same in its united vision.