My family is welcoming in a German family in America for a week. My mom knew them in college, as the mother, Stephie, was an exchange student at her school. They are now on their way from JFK to our house, and should be arriving shortly. I'm sure I'll talk at length about conversations with them in later posts, but for now, I'd like to talk about American pride.
We spent the better part of this morning cleaning our house in preparation for these people. I've been vacuuming and mopping all morning. I, personally am doing it to keep my parents happy. But at a deeper level, I think, is a sense of pride instilled in all Americans. On my trip to Ecuador, our guide literally walked into random homes and ask if the family had time to see us. For starters, no one turned us down. But even more than that, at no point did they try to excuse or apologize for their messy homes or cluttered rooms. At all levels, they simply wanted us to take them for face value, see who they really were.
But Americans prepare for hours, even days for visitors. They want to display the best of the best, the pinnacle points in life as an American. It's an inner American pride, I think, that drives this. For better or worse, it's a uniquely American characteristic.