Last Bell and the Little Ship
Trip Start Sep 25, 2004
39Trip End Dec 22, 2006
I ought to be more cheerful right now with all the recent celebration, but the weather has been awful for 10 days. Cold and rainy, and the worst is the lack of sunshine
I heard a story on Radio Svoboda ("Liberty Radio") yesterday about an American ship with weapons discovered near Fiodosia, Crimea (Ukraine). I'm still working on my listening comprehension of radio news, so I understood only 70% (which should be taken into account before I continue). However, it did spark some interesting thoughts which don't really depend on my complete comprehension. From what I understand the reaction taken (from the Ukrainian standpoint) treated the American ship as an "invading force."
We all wonder what's happening to our countries sometimes. In fact, nationalism and patriotism sometimes spark us not only to be a bit self-centered, but sometimes highly self-critical too. So, perhaps this is just a case of "home-land blues," but this morning I realized that the world sees the USA as an invading force, and they are right! Wether I like it or not, I am part of this "invading force."
Look at my people: Adventurous. Bold. Brave. Creative/ Critical thinkers. Fun. Honest. Kind. Cheerful. Faithful. VERY hard working
I read a quote from Fareed Zakaria, who has become my favorite columnist in Newsweek. As a quick side-note, this true evidence of my adulthood- I can't believe I am quoting NEWSWEEK (I used to think my parents were such dorks for keeping stacks of Newsweek and Time next at their bedsides, and I happily went to sleep next to my Newsweek last night)! The quote said, "The 21st century will be the century of change. More things will change in more places in the next 10 years than in the previous 100. Most countries aren't ready for this dizzying ride-- certainly not the United States of America."
Of course, we are always living in "a century of change." It blows my mind to think that at my age, my grandparents weren't even sure democracy would prevail over communism
I think the best part of doing something like Peace Corps is becoming a world citizen, not necessarily "helping poor countries." I'm not really sure I have "helped" people more than I could in the USA. And it's sad, but many American volunteers do not end up becoming world citizens. It requires stepping outside my American shell, and I still struggle with the things that America is not. Somber, slow, uncomfortable, gentle, humble, soft-spoken, conservative, patient, compassionate, flexible, lazy and cunning!
When you start challenging most Americans at their cultural core, many naturally become psychotic, defensive, fearful, negative and resentful. I hope we don't do that in the world's future! I heard about that little ship sent home off the coast of Crimea because it was carrying weapons. I thought about myself as a little ship, except trying not to be armed. It's harder than you'd think, but so important to keep PEACE. I've seen too many "armed" Americans abroad who resent other cultures. But, sometimes it hurts to discover more about what you are, and what you are not.