Monday, January 28, 2013

Six Months of American Culture

Today, while driving to Redbox (a new American staple for renting DVDs and video games from street corners) I realized that Boyet has been in America for more than six months now. So we began discussing American culture.  I wanted to discover what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what’s been surprising and if anything has been downright shocking.

Before coming to America, Boyet had never:

played rock band,

mowed a lawn,

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driven a car,

played in the snow,


worn a pumpkin on his head.


or eaten a Girl Scout Cookie.

He had also never smelled a skunk.

Now if you have never had the pleasure, there is no way I can describe it to you.  It’s a pleasure one must experience to fully enjoy.


But now he’s had some time to settle into American life and here are a few things he’s learned, Being in America offers a sense a freedom that, sadly, many other places don’t get the blessing of experiencing.  We can go shopping in the middle of the night. Yes, we have been to Wal-Mart at 3am. We have more than 300 religions with the largest majority being Christian.  The Catholic faith is the most popular among Christian religions.  Even Pagan, Wiccan and other religions can be found in America.  We can complain loudly about our government.  But the Dixie Chicks learned years ago that you shouldn’t do it on foreign soil if you want us to continue to spend our American dollars on your albums. We can work where we choose, go where we choose, wear whatever we choose, listen to whatever we choose, watch what we choose, etc. We are very blessed to have such amazing freedoms here. 

Boyet has come to understand that American society offers a level of convenience that can be found nowhere else on Earth.  Some would even go so far to say that we are spoiled. Most Americans don’t know what hunger truly is.  For the most part, we don’t understand poverty as our government offers dozens of programs to help those in need. We also have this strange attachment to the ‘nuclear’ family.  Elsewhere in the world, family means Mom, Dad, Siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and so on. They all work together for the good of the entire family. In America, there’s an expectation that young married couples should go off to live their own life. We are a society determined to keep up with the Jones’. We don’t feel complete if we don’t have the latest and greatest in gadgets, cars, electronics, etc. Consequently, we don’t value what we have. It’s disposable when the next best thing comes along.

I say it’s time to ignore the things and start focusing on things like family, relationships, prayer, faith and quality of time rather than things. I was recently told by a good friend that they could see me living quite happily in a communal lifestyle.  I think they might be right. Working together for the good of the whole has always been very appealing to me. For years, I have said that Communism (in theory) is a beautiful way of life. The problem is that Communism in practice doesn’t work like I think it should. So for now, I will go on treating my friends, my acquaintances and strangers like family because we were all created by the same God.  That makes us all equal in the brotherhood of man.