On September 11, 2001, I was a junior in high school in Washington, DC. I had second period free, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to think much of it when the fire alarm suddenly rang as I caught up on homework by my locker on the Pink Floor.
As the students gathered on the lawn, in accordance with our standard fire drill practice, I got my first inkling that something might actually be wrong: the Headmistress never participates in fire drills. What is she doing here? And why isn’t she smiling?
In the moments that followed her brief comments about what was happening in New York City, our lives — and the world at large — changed forever. We went on lockdown as the Pentagon was struck, and we comforted each other as we worried for parents and watched the smoke rise in the distance. Which target might be next? How were we going to get to our homes? When would phones work again so we could check in with loved ones?
I don’t need to recap that day any further. We all had similar experiences – especially those of us who were in DC or NYC. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.
While I was in France, I ate whatever I wanted. French food is heavy on all the currently “taboo” food groups in this country (depending on who you’re talking to these days), to include dairy, grains, meat, fats, and everything in between. And I have to tell ya – my digestive system never felt better while I was over there!
I returned to the U.S., and while I surely love American food in all its glory, I am back to being bloated, irregular, and less energized. It’s not because I eat bread… or because cheese is wrecking my digestive system…or because I enjoy red meat. I ate all those things in Europe. I know this is no secret, but it really is the fact that food in this country is SO overly processed. Even the packaged foods in Europe had smaller lists of ingredients, most of which I could actually pronounce. Everything is fresh and mostly local there. I ate raw eggs and beef for crying out loud (and lived to tell the tale.)
I’m not one to judge the U.S. based on what other countries are doing. I’ve never thought it’s a fair comparison – we are so much bigger and more diverse than most European countries. However, I do wish we could take at least SOMEWHAT of a hint from their dietary practices. Natural ingredients. A reduced reliance on corn. Cleaner, more humane livestock care. And perhaps the elimination of preservatives, dyes, and other miscellaneous ingredients that are banned everywhere else in the developed world except here! Of course, Americans could take a little personal responsibility and work on portion control, too…
I hate to be that Northern Virginia snobby white girl, and I probably won’t have this opportunity on a military base in Okinawa, but I may have to start shopping organic (it’s a start!)
Advice the Japanese give their own countrymen on how to handle the peculiarities of American culture.
“NOBODY IS IMPRESSED BY HOW MUCH YOU CAN DRINK. IN FACT, SHAME ON YOU. THEY HAVE FREE TIME ALL WEEK LONG! THEIR VENDING MACHINES ARE RIDICULOUSLY LIMITED AND DISHONEST. THEY TEND TO HORSE LAUGH, EVEN THE WOMEN. BUT DARN IT ALL, THEY’RE SO WEIRDLY OPTIMISTIC YOU JUST CAN’T STAY IRRITATED AT THEM.”
This is hilarious!! Oh man, Japan’s gonna be great.
10 Japanese Travel Tips for Visiting America
‘Murica!! #staugustine #florida #america #usa #flag
I think I’ve mentioned before that I am on a website that allows you to communicate with “penpals” from other countries in an effort to learn about cultures and practice various language skills. One French girl I communicate with encouraged asking each other what is “weird” about our respective cultures. I wrote her and asked for her view on the U.S.! Her response was precious:
“Yes i was in US (NY, Brooklyn) for a month and a half during end of May, June and July. And NY is a crazy city. I am in love with that city.
What was crazy ? Haha you’ll not believe me but two people propose me to married, have american nationality and see if we will want to have a future. BUT in my head it was the contrary haha, first you know the person and after you marry him haha (of course if you like him)
Hmmm Cotsco is BIG and crazy for us. I also saw Diet Burger haha.
I was near sunset park (*I think she means Central Park*) and there was asian people who practiced tai chi, juwish was running in suit, Porto Rican people was with their kids playing or eating food (smell so good) and at night every old guy of all nationality played chest together.
In that moment, i realized that i can see that, only in NY.
I was very happy to live in that area.”
I’m not even from New York and this oddly makes me kinda proud!
Happy birthday, ‘Murica!! @missymmm7 @jordybu @stepniix #dc #usa #america #patriotic #4thofjuly #independenceday
Land of the free because of the brave. Thinking of my deployed Marine this Memorial Day. 🇺🇸
The truth is, as long as we continue to think of the rising entitlement culture in America as someone else’s problem, someone else’s fault, we’ll never truly understand it and we’ll have absolutely zero chance of altering its dangerous course.
Great article about our country’s overwhelming culture of entitlement! I’ve long felt Americans have gotten way too comfortable with our blessings. This demonstrates how we are all to blame – and we are all responsible for setting a better example.
The Truth Behind Our Entitlement Culture
Remember that diversity of thought and ideals (and the freedom to express them without fear of persecution) is what makes this country so great. I think that each of you is intelligent, principled, and patriotic, regardless of who you voted for today.
I honestly believe this, and know that every American has a passion AND logic for what he/she believes more so than in so many parts of the world today. I think it’s really sad that regardless of what my vote is, someone close to me on either side will respect my intellect, values, and patriotism less as a result…
I am embarrassed to say that I did not vote this year. I did order my absentee ballot weeks ago, but it never showed up. Not sure if I did something wrong or if they did…? Regardless, I should have stayed on top of it better. To be honest though, I really had a hard time this year in terms of who to vote for. That’s why I admire both my Obama supporter friends and my Romney supporter friends, because they are so convicted in what they want for this country. I, on the other hand, am more befuddled than ever! I agree that we are in such a pivotal, volatile time in our history, so I really felt the (hypothetical) power of my vote this year, and it scared me a little…
Too late now of course, but I’m looking forward to hear what America decides!
Take some time today to honor our fallen heroes by celebrating freedom with good old American BBQ, relaxation, and reflection. Always and forever grateful for the sacrifices of our service members and their families…