Taking a break from the story telling for a second, I just have to get this out...
From my first experience with international travel (India) to moving here most of five years later I have pretty much always answered the question: "Where are you from?" with "I am from California." It started because the people in India usually wanted a specific answer, but I also knew it told people more about me than just saying that I was from the United States. I love California. While traveling the country with the band in college I saw plenty of nice places, but where was the variety? I even met some nice people, but I met many more of the unpleasant variety. While traveling in Ireland I saw many gorgeous hillsides, cliffs, beaches... they were on a grander scale than I was maybe used to, but I felt so spoiled when I realized that every place reminded me of Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Big Sur... and so on. I have fallen in love with spending time in New York City, but I've never seriously considered moving there because I couldn't really imagine leaving California for good.
The expats in Europe are all celebrating the end of having to be embarrassed of being from the US. And it's true, it's nice to be proud to say it! But the moment is a bittersweet one right now, as one friend put it on Facebook: "More proud to be an American than a Californian for, like, the first time ever." After this week I guess I'm going to have to practice how to say "the United States" because my heart has broken a little each time recently that I've given my usual answer. The Swiss are being their usual neutral selves and no one has really shared their thoughts on the matter of gay marriage. This struggle for civil rights is not over, but right now my sadness is the lost feeling of state pride, and it kills me. 52% of the people who voted in California have made it feel further away than ever. I can't believe I have friends whose own family would vote to remove their rights. I really thought we were more accepting and loving than this. I am ashamed.
I recently got back in touch with a friend from a show I did back in 1994 who started dating this great guy at the same time that I met my great guy. Even after all these years he was so genuine when he told me that they are still hoping to get married some day (this was about a month ago). This week he said that he thinks it's great that so many people would happily celebrate their, and that he believes the other people will come around. His optimism was one of the few comforting outcomes of this stupid vote.
I don't really have anything new to say on the actual issue so I won't really get into it. I just believe in love and that it's always the right answer, so there you go.