The chickadee has landed

May 27, 2007 by barbara

by Barbara MacO'miller

Barbara and David’s excellent adventure to Scotland and Ireland is now part of our past. And what a past it is. Such lovely countries. Such kind and generous people. Such terrifying roads! For pulse-pounding excitement, forget Valleyfair. Forget Six Flags. Instead, try driving at posted speed limits of 100 km down the left side of winding, two-way roads not much wider in some cases than urban U.S. alleys. Crikey!

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perhansa (not verified) | May 27, 2007 - 12:45pm

Welcome back! The US hasn't changed much since you left...same old same old. Still people dying. George did get an appropriate commentary from a bird on his environmental policies. He still doesn't know the meaning of the word "Allies" with his despicable snub of our European friends who are trying to take the next steps past Kyoto. (Don't even get me started on his latest self-centered, looking-out-for-numbero-uno, f-you attitude he showed the world...I did have to double my meds for whomever it is that's so worried about my state of mind and medication). If you're not on meds over the current state of the union you need to be because you're not well---and if you're well you need to be on meds to see the world so clearly and not run naked and screaming through the streets--another catch 22 for ya...yep, the Dems lost all their chips on the war funding...but vowed to keep blowing hot air out their whatevers until September, then what? More hot air? Bush is going to have to change his tune come September, ya, and Osama's gonna walk into the Green Zone and turn himself in too...

Ain't vacations grand? Ignorance, bliss, forgetfulness...Happy Sunday! I'm going to go take in some sun and read some of "Being and Nothingness".

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Anonymous (not verified) | May 27, 2007 - 1:46pm

Indeed, welcome back. My subject here is how to travel abroad and still be American. We've lived outside of the US and have traveled outside of the US. Some of the worst memories of those times involved Americans who couldn't stop "trashing" their own country, to people the Americans would probably never see again. It's such a fine line to draw and to live, and/but it sounds as if you've done it successfully.
Most of the Americans we knew who were "trashing" America had no debate/conversational time left to discuss anything except America's wrongs, i.e. a cab ride where the cabbie made the sad mistake of liking Clinton: no, no, no,he's anti-Union. And so on...
I'm not asking folks to sanctify, compliment or even LIKE Bush, BUT what we noticed is that other folks from countries we were visiting, or living in, other nationals don't do that. And the ones we met, ran into, were/are intensely interested in America. And I promise I'm not looking to Pollyanna-style discourse. It's just not easy.

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susan | May 27, 2007 - 10:09pm

Welcome home, chickadee! We missed you. I limped along, with help from Perhansa and the P-squad (Paul, Poet and Peter -- though Peter apppars to have taken a powder and he's a pissant anyway.) but it wasn't the same. And you'll notice that whole clumps of days go by with no flapping linen on the line.
Doing a bit of travel myself and am right now in the news vacuum of Northern Michigan. There is a town nearby named Bliss. It's not far from Cross Village, which isn't far from Goodhart. Hmmm. To get out of cross village and over to bliss, must you be of good heart?

As for trashing our president when abroad, (anonymous, above) I'm not sure what you're saying, and I generally agree that nothing is as easy or simple as it seems, but in the case of Bush, I think it's the duty of all Americans traveling abroad to apologize at every opportunity for the lethal dunderhead we've unleashed on the world. We were in Turkey, after 9/11, before the invasion, and the Turks we met seemed to genuinely love Americans, but they were incredulous that we had elected such a know-nothing "cowboy" as our "leader." "Does he know anything of our region's history?" they would ask. Um, apparently not.

Nevermind. Welcome home Babbycakes, looking forward to whatever wee and not so wee observations you'll be posting.

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Barbara aka Babs (not verified) | May 28, 2007 - 8:11am

I seriously considered wearing a button to Scotland and Ireland that says, "Please don't blame us; we didn't vote for him." The sad thing is that everyone would have understood what that meant. And we were asked repeatedly how such a terrible thing could have happened in America. Well. That's not a simple question to answer, is it? Made me reflect yet again on the circumstances surrounding Bush's rise to Faux Emperor of the World. And once again, I was reminded that we can forever lament the truth of hanging chads, election fraud, the Supreme Court, Ralph Nader, et al, but in the final analysis, it is the partisan voters (and even more than that, the non-voters) who are complicit in the tragedy unfolding under the "leadership" of George W. Bush.

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Anonymous (not verified) | May 28, 2007 - 9:08am

I wrote the first "trashing" America.
Guys: you're righter than I am. Nicely done.

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leftymn (not verified) | May 29, 2007 - 4:11pm

Welcome back voyager... having driven those back roads in England on the left hand side I know the feeling. I always had to get an automatic, as I am quite a klutz with my left hand and shifting manually with my left hand and simultaneously trying to remember the rules of left sided driving was quite a challenge.

As to being an American abroad.... I had two very unique post 9/11 experiences. about 3 weeks after 9/11 I travelled to Europe for a large trade show in Cologne, those were dark days of fear, yet I remember being greeted with sympathy and support by people from many countries. I also had the chance to take my second daughter on a trip to Italy for the spring break of her senior year of highschool in March 2003. we left the USA on the eve of the Iraq War. While waiting in the airport for our flight to Amsterdam we heard Northwest paging passengers to Jeddah, Kuwait and Dubai essentially informing them their flights had been cancelled. We arrived in Milan the following late morning . As we drove in by bus from the airport to the train station to catch our train to Verona, we noticed multicolored flags hanging from windows and buildings. The closer we got to the city the more flags there were, they said "PACE" on them, Italian for "Peace" and Italy had become one of the most emphatic countries protesting at that time against Bush and Blair's preemptive war. We encountered a few protests at the time, and were a bit apprehensive about how we would be received as Americans.
We encountered hospitality and generosity and an understanding that the "leaders " of a country do not necessarily represent their citizen's as a whole. I think that Germany and Italy particularly understand this lesson more than any in Europe, because they experienced the fascist leaders whose very existence was supposed to be the essence of their nationhood.
on the morning after we spent one night in Italy we awoke to pictures of warfare in Iraq.

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Barbara aka Babs (not verified) | May 29, 2007 - 6:22pm

Hey, LeftyMN, great to hear from you! Your EuroTiming was really something. In the wake of two egregious events. We sure as heck have squandered all good will routed our way. Your comment about Germany and Italy understanding that run-amok government is not necessarily reflective of the people's desires was particularly poignant. Uffdah.

When we were in Castlebar, Ireland, staying with friends, Margaret asked if we'd mind hanging around downstairs for a few more minutes until her seven-year-old son and his friends arrived from across the street. They wanted to view The Americans. It was actually pretty funny, but I do wonder what people who are too polite to say are thinking about us, i.e., parents of all those little boys. And then, of course, there are the Iraqi parents of little boys as well. More uffdah.

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susan | May 30, 2007 - 11:12am

To Anonymous, on trashing America.
Thanks for saying we're "righter" than you are. Of course my favorite three words in the English language are "You Are Right." The past tense is especially nice to hear. But having been right on Iraq has borne no pleasure. It was one of the few times in life that I desperately hoped I was wrong, as I think we all did.

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