It's been a while since I've posted. Had I really tried, I might've been able to squeeze in a couple of posts while traveling the last couple of weeks. But the "busyness" of my schedule, the glorious fatigue acquired by chasing a toddler around (resulting in 9:00 p.m. bedtimes for me), and the fickleness of the internet in those parts made me choose to just "be" and make relaxing with my family the highlight of my trip. It was just what the doctor ordered. I played with my granddaughter, watched Sesame Street videos, cooked with my sweet girls, and enjoyed the many pleasures that come when immersing one's self in a different ethnicity.
There are many things on my mind today as I write. I think of the joys experienced in getting away and seeing new things. I think of the challenges of visiting a different culture where you don't know the language. And I think of the insecurity that comes along with that, leading to the possibility of not making it through immigration because you cannot communicate and you are traveling alone (that really happened). I well up with the pride of seeing my children and their way of life -- simple, giving, challenging lives that in no way could I, as their mother, even attempt to live. I think about the high's and the low's of a way of life so different than my own, the many human needs found in a developing country, and the smiles and embracing hugs of those who welcome me every time I visit. I think of the grievous hardships placed on people who should have no hope, but who hope for hope because of those hardships. I loved this quote I heard while there: Poverty is not having no money, it's having no hope. I think of my daily life and wonder how I can live better, give bigger, and love more extremely.
When most people travel to a country bordering the Caribbean, they envision white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, lux accommodations, and exotic food. My venture into hispanic culture consisted of simple but clean accommodations, dusty roads instead of white sandy beaches, and uncomplicated but declicious food prepared by my sweet daughter. No McDonald's or Wendy's or other fast food establishments hanging out on every corner to pop in and out on a whim during a busy day. The positive side to this? I lost three pounds without even trying. Curse that fast food! It's the downfall of many people's diets around these parts I think.
On the more serious side, these thoughts inevitably lead to a refreshing of my love for the United States of America. There has been a lot of negativity surfacing in the news recently from those who would blame the USA for various atrocities, giving credence to people who seem to think there is somehow something, somewhere out there, that is better than this great country we live in. I know it's not perfect but all it takes for me to want to kiss its beautiful soil is to visit a country where roads are crappy, the infrastructure is -- well, virtually non-existent, and where you're taking your health into your own hands when you do something as simple as eating fresh produce. Police with machine guns are the norm, and many folks carry machetes so as to provide for their own safety. Small children walk along busy highways barefooted, playing in the runoff from who knows where. There is no DFACS there looking out for their wellbeing. In the poorest areas, there is no such thing as running water, let alone hot water. I think sometimes we surely take for granted this great country and all the pleasures, freedoms, and safety nets we enjoy. I'll reiterate: It's not perfect...it's far from perfect because it's made up of imperfect people, but in my opinion it's certainly the best of the rest.
Traveling has a way of causing me to tap into my creative side, to come alive and consider new possibilities. It challenges me to do better in my life, to see things from a different perspective, to count my blessings and to be happy in what I have and to not be bitter in what I don't have. And when I travel to another country, it broadens my horizons and indeed refreshes my appreciation of the blessings I am afforded by living in a country where we take so many things for granted. My daughters constantly challenge me to think outside of the box, to consider what others experience and feel, and to never believe that my way of life in rural Georgia is ever all there is.
Posted by CC
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