Saturday, October 15, 2011

There's only two things I hate in this world...

1) People who are intolerant of other people's cultures, and
2) The Dutch.

(OK, I jest, but I do love this line from Austin Power's Goldmember (2002))

What was suppose to be a 10-month long cultural exchange experience, turned out to be a 3 1/2 week American vacation for our Dutch Foreign Exchange student.  It seems that homesickness got the best of her. My family is grateful for the experience, albeit short, because it brought us closer together. This was a trying experience for us all.  The student was on an emotional roller coaster half the time - going from being amazed at American high school football to being depressed about our food, our time spent in cars, and our amount of choices for anything.

Walking into any American supermarket and seeing entire aisles dedicated to breakfast cereals or salad dressings was a little overwhelming for her. Telling her that "Yes, it's true.  You can buy food, shoes, motor oil and guns in the same place" was a reflective moment for me. "Thank you, Walmart."

The Disease of More - see "The Paradox of Choice" has a basic premise that if we had to choose between three of four similar items, we would be much more happy than having to choose between five and fifteen items. Perhaps. But I think 'mericans are quite good at choice management. Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I like watching "Inside the Actors Studio", sometimes I prefer "Inside Edition".

And then there's the discussion we had about 'merican teens' (18 yrs +) ability to vote, smoke, go to war, but not drink alcohol. Wow! I'm not really sure what to do with that one. Lucky for me I have a 7-yr old daughter, so I have a few years to get my spiel together. It had better be water-tight or she will see through it just like the other 20 million teenagers in America do.

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