15 June 2007

“No, I Really Love America”

Posting with a German keyboard, so forgive the errors...

It’s no secret that traveling as an American these past few (seven) years has become increasingly difficult for an onslaught of reasons that I do not need to defend here. They’re obvious and if you don’t agree, take off your blinders and stop living in a box. Needless to say, I travel with a certain calm and sense of apology at all times, doing my best to prove that one man does not speak for an entire nation. This method has been fairly successful and surprisingly, I have been well received in every venue, particularly in France!

What we’ve done to France in the US is appalling and rather embarrassing (freedom fries? I mean, come on. They aren’t even French to begin with. They’re Belgian). Still, French youth, from bustling Paris to tiny Puget, were overwhelming positive about the US, writing things like “Long live America” on the FRANCE banner! This shocked me at first, and I wanted to figure out why.

A dinner party in Puget with the incredible host family helped me to understand. “Even still, war aside, you can go to America and do anything. Be anything. Make it. Live the dream. Plus, Americans are always so helpful and so positive about everything. It’s so refreshing,” a Brit who grew up in France told me. It’s true that while that dream is slowly slipping away at the hands of big business and bad policies, American society lacks a certain social structure that confines people to the “rest of their lives” at a very early age.

In the UK, if you go to school to be a social worker then by golly, you’re going to be a social worker! In the US, you can go to school for just about anything and then work in just about any field. It wasn’t just this girl or just in France. Young people told me the same thing across Argentina and Brazil, a welcome surprise to what I had expected. I didn’t want to be perceived as the “big bad American” travelin’ around the world tellin’ people how things should be, and it looks as if I may be succeeding...

I do not really have pics that match this entry, so here are a few funny shots, just to lighten the mood:

One of these is not like the other...

The Star Trek control pad of a European car. Why dont we get cool stuff like this?

Wait, did they really use innertubes as the wheels of a wheelchair? They did. They did.

1 comment:

Rockwell said...

Just a side note: French fries in Belgium... with that flavored mayo they use... yuuuuuuuuum! The best fries in the whole world.

Keep enjoying it all.