My day is not going quite as planned. Sometimes this is good, like today, when it is actually going better than planned. Other times it is disconcerting, like when my whole move does not go as planned. Sometimes I get to see "God work all things together for good." Even some snarky comments made about America and Americans. Allow me to briefly explain, I was at a party and met a Kiwi who probably had a few glasses of wine so the usual polite reserve was gone. Instead I got an earful about how dreadful America and Americans are and how people (i.e. this guy) in New Zealand do not like Americans, ergo, that is why I have not found a job yet. I am sorry to say, this threw me for a loop. It is especially odd, because as most of you know, I am not exactly enthusiastic about America myself. I have always thought of myself as first a follower of Christ, then a global citizen, and then a Californian, and only then a person with an American passport.
Moving overseas has helped me learn that, yep, I am an American. Not just my accent, but my assumptions, and my self confidence (which can seem brash or arrogant in other cultures). I feel a little silly now admitting how much these comments bothered me (and I am almost sure the person saying had no idea of their impact). As I told my mom on the phone, "After all we saved their asses in WWII." Of course that is not the point. The point is that it is never fun to be on the receiving end of someone's stereotypes. And stereotypes are only powerful because there is truth to them.
It reminded me of when I first started my career after grad school, and I was working in a male dominated field with a lot of older men who resented women in the workforce. I remember thinking, not much I can do about that. It really hurt though. It is so unfair. As prejudice always is.
I cannot do much about being an American either. So this rude Kiwi (against stereotype) did me a favor.
1) I came to grips with who I am perceived to be at first acquaintance. I am better prepared for the next person who is triggered by Americans. There is so much positive about America too and moving abroad is teaching me that as well.
2) It resulted in asking for help from friends and getting an introduction to a headhunter that might ultimately lead to a job. We are having coffee tomorrow!
3) It resulted in a job offer from Mexicali Cindy who is willing to hire me to work at one of their restaurants over the summer (next few months). I will get a work visa, have money to pay my bills, and probably have some fun. My friend Mara already pointed out that this may be a real blessing as it will allow me to spend more time redesigning.
I also learned that no matter how much I want to tell myself I am all alone in this--I am NOT alone. So many people reached out and let me know that I am supported and loved in the last few days. Wow. I have an e-mail from Sarah and Tevis each that I will print out and save. I am blessed, blessed, blessed with the things that really matter.