Saturday, May 19, 2012

Somewhere between "feminist vegan restaurant in Connecticut" and "Gilhooley's Bar and Pub" lies the vast gulf that separates me from all things Lawnton.

I fit in - but still stood out - for approximately six years of my life; the first six years I spent as a child in Germany, before I knew there was anything else, but where people were still impressed that I had an American passport and was being raised bilingually.

The Americans in Stamford beat the crap out of me that first year.  Mark and I were the only white kids at Hart School that weren't either Italian or Irish Catholic or possibly eastern European. 

That was the year I decided I wanted to be "by the people, of the people and for the people."  Fitting in in public school meant I was American. 

Until my dad finished his residency and we moved to the north side of Stamford and a better school.  There we were the German kids again.  In the middle of wealthy Jews.  Ja, that worked well.  I remember wearing my deirndl to school and being called "Nazi" in the girls' bathroom.

I didn't know what a Nazi was.

Connecticut has the privilege - or did a few years ago when I read the article - of being the U.S state with the largest disparity of yearly income.  Greenwich, always one of the richest, if not the richest, towns in the United States, had an annual average salary of $650,000 a year.  $650,000.  A year.  Average ANNUAL salary.  Say what you want about the falling US dollar; that's still a lot of money.

Bridgeport, Connecticut had an average annual salary of $18,500 a year. 

New York City, of which all of these towns can be considered suburbs,  about the same distance away from where I grew up as Brisbane is from where I live now, is the most populous city in the United States.  Over 8 million people live in NYC alone.

The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, consists of New York City and the surrounding region. It is the most populous metropolitan area in the United States (including both the Metropolitan Statistical Area definition and the Combined Statistical Area definition) and is also one of the most populous in the world.[1][2][3] It includes the largest city in the United States (New York City), the five largest cities in New Jersey (Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Paterson, and Trenton) and six of the seven largest cities in Connecticut (Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, and Danbury). The total area of the metropolitan area is 11,842 sq mi (30,671 km2). As a center of many industries including entertainment, finance, news media, and manufacturing, it is one of the most important regions in the United States and the world.

I've stolen that directly from Wikipedia.

There are more people in the small area of the United States that I grew up in than there are on the entire continent on which I now reside.

I'm not saying that I don't want to be "by the people, for the people and of the people" in my new country.  I've spent my life trying to fit in.

I'm not saying that growing up a rich white girl with well-educated upper-middle class parents - the real deal with yearly family vacations to the Caribbean, the grandparents in Florida and with two Ivy league educations - was tough. 

What I'm saying is that I might not fit in anywhere by now.

And what I'm learning is that that's quite all right.


  1. You are just now figuring that out? Anyone that did time in Haiti should know you'll never fit in......!

  2. You knew that THEN!!! Wow - you are so much cleverer than I am! Nope -I was still trying, right up until last week. Personal growth galore here.