I’ve lived in Yorkshire, England for a year and a half, which has been a bumpy but mostly pleasant ride. It’s been an incredibly busy year for me, but a busier one for the United Kingdom: 2011-2012 has seen the royal wedding of Prince William, the Queen’s Jubilee celebration, and we are now in the midst of the London 2012 Olympic Games. If I may be honest, it’s a little difficult to write this post–I keep getting distracted by the Men’s Swimming competition.
A few months ago I was lucky enough to see the Olympic Torch come through my town. It was a picture-perfect sunny summer day–an event in itself, as sunshine has been in rare supply in Yorkshire–and a group of us assembled on the town green with snacks, beers, and our Union Jack flags. Even though our group of expats joked about being Team USA turning out to support Team Great Britain, it was impossible to deny that we were proud of the show and spectacle that London 2012 was putting on.
Like my neighbors, I howled at the cost of security oversights that led to the UK military filling in the gaps. Like my neighbors, I also bristled at Mitt Romney’s comments that London didn’t seem ready for the Games. I giggled at Danny Boyle’s use of Pet Shop Boys and sheep in the Opening Ceremony and the Queen pretending to parachute in with Daniel Craig…and I beamed with pride as the UK team marched into the stadium.
To quote Hugh Grant from Love Actually, “We are a small country, but a great one too.” And it is true. The United Kingdom is a great country, and London a fabulous city. It has been a pleasure to see the obvious pride that my neighbors take in being British–droll and cheeky, steeped in tradition but in many ways quite innovative and visionary. While I’m still cheering for my native homeland, I find myself pulling for my adopted one, too. It’s been an honor to live in England during 2012, this Year of Years.
Do you feel emotional connections to nations other than the one in which you were brought up? Why? Tell us in the comments!