Saturday, June 30, 2012

Southern Summer

It's been a busy couple weeks traveling through several Southern states visiting family and friends.  We haven't melted yet in the heat and humidity, but I have froze in the AC.  Having to put on a sweater when I go indoors makes no sense to me!  Some of my Southern Summer Highlights include:

My first Porter family vacation,
Fishing with my nephew,
Seeing Clayton (a good friend from Kenya),
Tubing with the fam,
Cuddling and wrestling with my nephews,
Family dinners,
Lazy afternoons,
Time with family.

Thank you Porters for a great time!

Now it's time to do some laundry to go see my West Coast family and friends.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Those of us who left America to live in the big global world often get frustrated, annoyed, and moan about our home country.  Just reading the news there is plenty to complain about.  Some of our complaints are founded, others not.  Maybe we like to convince ourselves that our choices to live far away are good ones.  Maybe we like to remind ourselves of the reasons we chose this life style. Maybe we want to think that we know something the people living in America don't know.  All of which is in our heads because truth be told, we don't know anything more than the next guy.  I think we just like to complain, just like everyone back home, who complain about the things they don't like.  And living abroad gives you a different view of the world, including your own culture and own home and own people.  So here are a few observations from an American whose been away for awhile...

America has the friendliest people in the world!  
It's true.  In the midst of going to two stores today, I've had conversations with three strangers who just struck up a friendly hello and enjoyed whatever followed.  The store clerk, the neighbor, the pastor, the person in the grocery line.  They're all ready to be friendly and helpful.  Ask anyone a question and they'll answer with the kindest voice.  Most of the time.  Americans, you win the friendliest people award!

Christian culture is a business.
I watched a commercial on TV yesterday advertising a local church.  Selling your church - seems a little different than Jesus' style from what I read.  American Christianity is an interesting culture.  The more I'm away from the American part of Christianity, the more aware I am that Christian culture is not always God's culture.  Not that all of American Christianity is bad.  But I think sometimes people think that American Christianity is The Way or their church is The Right One.  Just a reminder: Jesus was a homeless Middle Eastern guy, not a middle class American.

Americans are fat for a reason.
Spending 5 hours in the Dallas airport, we saw every terminal and every food option available.  There were no restaurants with genuinly healthy choices.  Almost everything is unhealthy!  Some actually taste good, like Auntie Annie's  pretzels.  Some just don't, like Chili's, where we ate dinner and could hardly get it down.  America IS a fast food nation.  And people are large.  And no wonder, where can I find sushi or Thai or Indian or a steak that does not come in XXL?  I guess I need to get to Portland! :)

One stop shopping is really nice.
Going to one store to get everything you could possibly want is actually really nice.  I know people talk bad about Walmart, but let's face it.  They've done some great business for themselves.  It's convenient.  They have every product you could want or need or use.  And they're cheap.  Or pick Target.  Or Kmart.  Or Fred Meyer.  Or whatever store is near you.  America, I admit that I like your mega stores.

America - I love you and hate you and miss you and can't wait to leave you.  You're my home town.  My family.  Many friends.  And a great place to shop for shoes.  It's good to see you again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back "Home"

First song heard in the US... When We All Get To Heaven.  Sung with a very strong Southern twang through the speakers of the Dallas airport.

Majority of travelers on the plane... Teenagers coming home from mission trips wearing Jesus T-shirts.

Voices heard while boarding the plane to US... Lots of English.  Lots of LOUD English.

Grocery shopping... Had to go back to the cereal aisle twice because there were just too many choices.

Happiest purchase on Day One - Oil of Olay Face Moisturizer with SPF.

Number of times I've said Kosonom instead of Thank You... None!  I've caught myself about four times today before I actually said it.

One of those things you notice... No Hungarian words on the internet today.

Best part of being in the US... Seeing family of course!

Weirdest part of being in the US... With each visit back, I feel more and more like I just don't quite "fit" here.

Quote of the day... "Y'all are world citizens." I'll take that as a compliment!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Every Country is Patriotic

Born an American.  Grew up an American.  Lived most of my 20's in America.  I understand that most Americans think it an American duty to be patriotic.  But what a lot of Americans don't understand is that all countries are patriotic.  Chinese are proud to be Chinese, striving to help their country be a world leader.  Kenyans are proud to be Kenyan, happy in meager circumstances or grand, one of the first things you learn about a Kenyan is the tribe they come from.  And Hungarians.  After years of being occupied, dictated, ruled, Hungarians want to just be Hungary - ruled by their own people, for their own people.  Proud of their heritage and their complicated language that no one else can seem to learn well, Hungarians are as patriotic as they come.  I was reminded of this by a recent news article.

After living abroad for a few years now, I have come to appreciate patriotism in all its forms, in all its countries, by all its people.  Americans, you're not the only ones who love their country.  It's something we should all remember.