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Since becoming an ex-pat full time, I've grown more interested in American culture, at least how it is viewed by people of other nationalities. Given the current political climate, and everything that has happened in the U.S. during the past few months, it's been a rather interesting time to live abroad!
My most interesting realization, however, actually happened through one of my sister's experiences.
Courtney & I
My sister (who still lives in the U.S.), recently became friends with an ex-pat from Switzerland and during one of their recent conversations, I came up. He'd mentioned he wanted to visit New York City and Courtney said she had a sister that had lived there. Her friend then asked about me and Courtney said that well, I used to be a lawyer, but then I quit that to pursue what I love -- cooking and helping people -- so I created a website, which lead to a book and so on.
Her friend's eyes widened in amazement and he said, rather excitedly, "So your sister is living the American dream!"
Scott, a Herbie that visited in SXM (Nita), me, Courtney
This caught Courtney off guard because like me, we'd always thought the "American dream" was living in a nice house in the suburbs with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. It had never occurred to us that the American dream was about exploring opportunity and building something out of nothing.
As she was retelling her experience to me, I was just stunned.
It sounds so silly to say this all out loud. But it was such an interesting "realization" that I had to share. It reminded me that sometimes we need an outside view to see progress we've made. That sometimes we look too long at something that we can't really see what's right there in front of us.
I'd have never thought someone would find what I have done inspiring; but it was humbling and a reminder that accomplishments don't have to be huge or grand. I don't have to be the next Bethenny Frankel to be able to define myself as "successful" (though that would certainly be nice!) We can find success and inspiration in all achievements, including overcoming small hurdles.
All of this led to more realizations. I forced myself to come to terms with the fact that I'm an artist. I'd always had this particular stereotype about what an artist is (or isn't) and I realized that stereotypes are rarely correct. The same true for entrepreneurs.
Me with a fellow artist, Vicky.
I realized, I am an artist. I am an entrepreneur. I am living the American dream (even if I'm not living in America) and it's time I accept, really accept this and say it standing tall and proud.
So, I dare you: Who are you deep inside?