New York

By Molly P.
Grade 7, New York
Country of Origin: Egypt

Sometimes she feels like she is American. Sometimes she doesnĂt. I have to be honest, even until this day, I still struggle with that thought; of whether IĂm an American or not. So a lot of times, every time I start thinking of myself as an American, something comes up and makes me realize that IĂm not as fully Americanized as I think. I think the first time I really started considering myself an American was when I went back to Egypt to visit. I left right at the beginning of third grade, and I didnĂt go back again until the end of eighth grade. So it had been, about five, six years. And then when my cousins would say things in Egypt, IĂm like, ˘What? What are you talking about? Why are you acting like that?÷ And theyĂre like, ˘Oh, youĂre so American now, you donĂt even realize what youĂre saying.÷ And thatĂs the first time it hit me, I was like, ˘Wow, I do do a lot of things that are more American than they are Egyptian.÷ I think to myself every time I come back from Egypt, ˘IĂm so American.÷ And then, when September 11th happened, and there was all this backlash against Muslims or Arabs, that made me think, maybe IĂm not¨¨maybe IĂll never be accepted as being American. This wasnĂt that long ago, I was a grown person and in grad school; it wasnĂt like I was a kid. But it made me think, maybe people will never accept me as an American. And now I realize, being American doesnĂt mean you look a certain way, you act a certain way, or think a certain way, and I realize, you can be whoever you want and be American. ThereĂs a part of my heart thatĂs always gonna be in Egypt because of the language and the culture and the family. But when it comes to where I live, I feel like I can express myself more in the United States. I always thought about going back to Egypt for a year or two, just to study the language and everything, but I think the way my family is, I get mad at them because theyĂre so snobby, and the social class thing really frustrates me, so I donĂt think I could handle it. So yeah¨¨thatĂs how I know IĂm Americanized now, because I would stay here more than anywhere else.

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