Thought the First: generally, when I have mostly keenly felt my Americanness, I have also felt loud, and large, and brash, and somewhere on the scale from cheeky to insufferably rude. Today, when I feel like an American it is because I feel small, and quiet, and vulnerable.
Thought the Second: despite having several American friends from my language courses, I haven’t felt the presence of an actual expatriate community around me until today. It’s been nothing more than exchanged glances and the quiet reassurances of “yes, I’m OK” – but that’s really enough.
Thought the Third: since I have been luckily spared from thousands of individual tragedies, what saddens me most is the following: that obviously peaceful Islamic groups in the US are receiving a deluge of hate mail, and also, that so many people in the world believe that violence is their only route to justice.