Monday, July 2, 2012

20,000 miles

Well, Karen, I have referred to you as my Window to the Third World. You are an American who has spent the majority of your life overseas. But now you tell us that you have just driven more than 20,000 miles around this country. You have seen more of the States than I have. I would love for you to become my Window to the United States now.

From your unique perspective, what struck you about this country as you drove through it? Were your experiences similar throughout? Did you even feel as though you were in the same country everywhere you went?


Thanks for asking, Marcia, I love sharing about my country. In fact, one of the advantages to living overseas might be that I have a greater appreciation for what we have here. I have seen what other places without our heritage and government endure.

Some aspects of America are consistent from the east to the west, but there are distinct cultures within geographical areas. 

For example, Americans are consistently diverse. Everywhere you go, you see people who seem like they are from every where else. This is most obvious in post offices. The last one I went to had people from Indian, Asian, Caucasian and African backgrounds. But they were all Americans, all friendly, and worked amiably. This gives me great hope because individually, the people we encountered were all friendly.

Your status the other day mentioned a Vietnamese, Hispanic and a French manicure, another friend posted meeting people from Bolivia, Ecuador, Vietnam and Korea. Both were positive encounters. Something in this marvelous country allows people to interact without an excess of cultural suspicion. 

Of course, there are various degrees of assimilation within groups of people, but the point is that they are not antagonistic on an individual basis. Collectively, however, you have incidents of mob mentality (one ethnic group attacking another). But that happens everywhere, it is a weakness of being human.

Highways, roads, means of getting from here to there. Aahh. Yes. The US highways are amazing. Their condition is above adequate. Phil and I had to chuckle that Americans love to complain about their roads constantly being "under construction." We took our share of detours and slow-downs. But the other option is roads that are not maintained and disintegrating. We've been on those, and, no thanks.

Each state or geographical area has a sense of pride and beauty. What comes across to me is that we are a great example of synergy: America as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I wish everyone could get a sense of the value of all the parts.

Same goes for the Kingdom of heaven, I guess. Considering others above ourselves would go a long way to making a superpower something more: a care-power. America already shows that she cares around the world, in many ways. But self-serving, or feeling good, sometimes get in the way of what is best for those cared for. (I digress.)

Thanks for asking, the trip makes me grateful to carry this passport and enjoy the blessings of being an American.

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