Eight years, eight cities: Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Bangkok, Berlin, Rome, Tel Aviv, Cape Town and Sydney. And what do I have to show for all that time spent living outside the U.S.? Here are some highlights: at least twice as much romantic drama (and comedy) in half the time I spent in New York City, at least two books, and at least five valuable lessons in love and lust.
I am American. Some of my ancestors were born here and knew no other land, some of my ancestors journeyed here from Europe, and some of my ancestors were brought here from Africa. I don't know the complete stories of any of their lives, but I know their stories merge to create mine. One that is very specifically American.
About two years ago, I visited Hong Kong for the very first time and could not believe my eyes. Traveling from the dated, fraying JFK airport in NYC to the shining, efficient airport in Hong Kong, my world view was immediately changed: It was the U.S. that was a third-world country, and Asia was vivid.