I’m a member of American Citizens Abroad, which is a non-profit group designed to help represent the interests of Americans who live outside the United States. Someday I’ll dive in deeper on our many issues, such as how we don’t get counted by the census and how we are a bigger voting block than some states, with our own special needs but ignored by our “back home” representatives. But today, I got an email that Overseas Americans Week is coming up in Washington DC from June 20-22. Part of the activities will be a slideshow showing how Americans make contributions that help the country
abroad. From the email I got:
In addition to the usual visits with Congressional representatives, we are organizing an event with key-note speaker. The theme of the gathering is “Who we are”. The objective is to provide influential people in Washington with a balanced image of Americans abroad, helping them to understand our patriotism-without-borders and the vital contributions we make to the country. We’re going to start off the event with an animated slide show featuring
Americans abroad – at work, at home with their families, at play and at American events.
WE NEED YOUR HELP – YOUR PHOTOS
TO BE SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN THE END OF APRIL
We are looking for photos of Americans overseas, connecting citizens abroad to America from within their host country, showing them working at an American company overseas, or showing them in activities which promote a positive image of America and Americans to communities overseas. Ideal examples might be: At my desk at IBM France with the Eiffel Tower in the background, or flag-rolling for President’s day on the banks of the Thames, etc. Great personal photos of you and your family will also be welcome.
So I’ll make my contribution as part of this blog post. Every year, we hold a Fourth Of July party. It’s gained quite a following in our village and among our friends. We’re the only Americans around, but all the Brits turn out dressed up and having a great time.
My wife (British by birth, but also a naturalized American) plies them with food:
Here’s one of our British friends’ daughter showing her American spirit for the day. PS, sorry about the blurred face, but with people sensitive about children’s photos on the web, it’s for the best.
Halloween isn’t exclusively American, but we’ve embraced it in a way that Britain is starting to catch up with. I did a pumpkin carving day for our friends one year, and that’s become a tradition now. Armed with whatever templates and plastic carving tools I’ve brought back from the US, here’s a crop from last year that we and our British friends made:
I’ve lived in Britain for eight years now and been coming back-and-forth to the country for nearly 20 years overall. I say a story I’ll dig up later from two years ago about how someone in London felt the UK and the world in general was becoming very anti-American. I’ve not felt that from people I know in the
UK. The BBC is at times I think anti-American in its coverage, and certainly plenty of people are anti-Bush/anti-The American Government. But on a personal level, I’ve been welcomed and made to feel at home here.
In large part, it’s because of the welcoming spirit of the British people. In part, it’s probably because of our own attitude in being good citizen ambassadors. I hope in our small way, we’ve boosted the bad impression some people might have of America. I hope the American government really understands
the value of unofficial ambassadors such as my family and other American families around the world.
If you want to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, the address the Overseas Vote Foundation is using to coordinate collection of the photos.