Thursday, August 26, 2010

Europe Post Mortum - Part 2

After almost two weeks of being back in the States I feel that part of me has truly changed. A lot of stuff has suddenly upturned in my life and it's been hard to deal with all of the change coming in one big rush.

When I moved back to Oregon I didn't really have a lot of time to adjust to being here, although I definitely felt and feel happier now that I'm here. I acquired a relationship, reconnected with old friends, had some time to sit, think and relax while I waited to leave for a long trip that I needed to take.

The say the least I felt really stuck in Minneapolis.

Upon coming back to the States it became painfully evident that my job was over, and I dreaded the idea of going back to being unemployed. As I think about this point my confidence melts away and it's been a constant self struggle to keep it pumping me forward. Yesterday was not a good day for that, but the day before was better, it is an up and down struggle.

I have no illusions that I don't have the worst of the world's problems in my lap, in fact I'm doing pretty good. It's just been interesting seeing the low hit me as I remember my trip and look forward to an uncertain future in employment. I feel beaten down by the months of unemployment I had, and right now would be game for just about any job I can take. I know millions are in the same boat as me, and that is a bit of a comfort, although sad fact to think about.

My biggest frustration is not seeing the self confidence I now have for traveling bleed over a bit into job hunting. Positive self talk does a lot, but I think it'll just take patience and time and optimism to get me there. Recessions certainly don't last forever, and I think the one we're going through now world wide is a wake up call to how the financial markets we have in the US are not in a balanced state and need some fixing.

I encountered a lot of Europeans who think that American's are greedy, and self focused to the point of ridiculousness. And I think it is a problem that we're not more community focused here, I think it's one of the reasons Americans are pretty unhappy, unhealthy people. We don't get enough time with our families and we're obsessed with work. Striking the balance between that and keeping out budget balanced is hard. Doing good for others makes you feel good, and it's something that we don't focus on here enough, and I frankly think it's ridiculous to find someone, somewhere who would think I am somehow advocating communism, or that socialism is communism in disguise, etc etc.

One of the reasons that we have so much violence here is theorized to be from two factors, one is economic stratification, and the other is our lack of a homogeneous communities. These are again only theories, but there is evidence that the fear of the stranger and living side by side with people that do not look "black", "brown", "green", "white", "fuchsia" can have an affect on us. We're hard wired to fear the stranger and it's a struggle to untangle that and get rid of our xenophobia, because deep down we're all human, despite what's on the surface, and we all have the same needs.

I am optimistic that this will change, it will be painful and slow, and is already changing, but it takes constant love and attention to get it going.

America is truly great because here our xenophobia has melted somewhat, in Europe it is much more evident that you don't see people that look different everyday, even other white people that look different, thus the staring by children and adults alike at the strange American mutt who's strolling through your Swiss town to her Hostel.

In conclusion, my trip was wonderful and transforming, and coming back to reality has been a bit hard, but also a welcome relief from the intensity of constant travel. I am a healthier, happier person. My eyes are more open and so is my mind. I hope to travel again soon, I'm planning a trip to Japan that I can hopefully take next year.

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