Ungrateful Expatriates

For the record, these reflections aren’t necessarily reflections on individuals in the group I went with; but they are reflections from the empty spaces in my head. Observations I made and further thoughts regarding life experience in general will contribute to some of these reflections. Others will be directly related to the trip (these I believe will be obvious).

When you first travel overseas and fall in love with a culture you begin to degrade the culture and place that formed you as a person. That is, one of the things I loved in Syria and Lebanon was the amazing hospitality of the folks we met. Knowing us for a few minutes, the locals offered us into their homes and offered tea. Not many people in the States would do this.

However when we travel overseas we shouldn’t quickly buy into our romanticized vision of the way things are. For instance, while the people are hospitable there are plenty of other walls to relationship that are present. Don’t speak wrongly of the government. While my time on an interpersonal level was limited, I know that if I had spent a couple of weeks in the countries I enjoyed I would soon find issues that I would change.

The United States has definitely got its issues, but I will take them over any other country at this point. The freedom of speech and ability to move up a socio-economic ladder make it more palatable than others I have known in my short existence.

Comments 2

  1. Hear, Hear!

    I lived a year in the UK and LOVED it, but it took a good six months before I overcame my expatriate ingratitude toward the US. It was difficult for me as an undergrad to listen to my classmates who had spent a semester abroad and wouldn’t stop talking about how great it was over there and how stupid/uncultured/wasteful our society is. I think I know exactly what you mean.

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