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.