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Due to my physical appearance as a black American, I have often been asked if I am Cabo Verdean. Most of the time, when I explain that I am American, I receive more questions regarding my ancestry. Some are in disbelief that my physical traits are not Cabo Verdean while others are more surprised to hear that both my parents were also born in America. I have found that people are curious because they want to know if I identify with their national pride and culture. Therefore, the interest in my nationality and ethnic background seem to be reflective of the patriotic nature of this country. July 5th is the Cabo Verdean Independence Day, which was clearly visible as Cabo Verdeans took the day off of work to celebrate with friends and family. Their patriotism is also reflected in their deep ties to their history. It is not hard to find monuments and shrines of Amílcar Cabral, one of the most important independence fighters. During the World Cup season, this is also clearly seen as young boys crowd around the television to cheer for and support Portugal. The Cabo Verdean flags waving in the streets of Plateau, the city center, are also an indicator.

            On the Fourth of July, I found that being here made me feel more patriotic in regards to my home country. While I have come to love Cabo Verde, there is nothing like being home. I believe that the amount of pride that people here have for their country, even with its colonial and dark historical past, made me see my Fourth of July in a different light. While we had the privilege to spend it with the Ambassador of the United States, my time here has made me more appreciative of my country. Although I have spent past years dismayed by the historical implications of the holiday, this Fourth of July, I focused on my optimism regarding the future and ways we are moving forward to reconcile past mistakes.

            Even though I have learned to embrace my country, I have not neglected that the questions about my nationality have made me more curious about my ethnicity of which I have little knowledge. I have begun to wonder more about my roots and ancestry which has led me to want to take an ancestry test. Although I have pride in my American identity, as a black American, I feel a longing to understand my cultural heritage in a new light. I look forward to learning more about my identity when I return. And who knows? Maybe I actually do have some Cabo Verdean ancestry. If this is the case, then I would be honored to have ties to a country that takes so much pride in its identity due to its resiliency and beauty.