Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Mixed Homecoming

The first thing I noticed when I got back into the United States were the newspapers. Headlines shouted the bad news about the economy, saying "look at me, things are really failing in this country." I immediately felt a jolt of anxiety about the job market, the stock market, the housing market. After that, I felt anger. How dare the media scare us so much, instead of help us get along in our lives? Is this news, or is this shock journalism? I just came from a third world country, where mothers and their dirty children sat on blankets on street corners, begging for a peso. I came from a place where drug cartels are ruling the border, and hundreds of people are dying. I came from a place with a serious lack of social systems, where poverty scrapes the bottom, and people do anything to get by. They wash the windows of cars waiting at stoplights, they sell gum and flowers to people dining on outdoor patios. Indian women walk for miles into town to sell their hand-sewn dolls.

Here in the United States, we have it good. There are unemployment benefits, welfare, programs for the homeless and hungry. We don't see 5-year-olds peddling gum. Yes, we are in an economic downturn, but we are the richest country in the world. Our own President is talking about a TRILLION dollar stimulus package. What are we complaining about? Yes, it's important to know the facts, but I'm tired of the shouting, the blaming, the screaming, angry black headlines.

On the other hand, it's beautiful being back in my country. It's nice speaking and reading English, seeing the knowing nods of the homeland security agents. My comfortable bed and pillow felt like heaven, and I loved being in my own house all day yesterday. When I first saw Puget Sound again, I felt like a long drought was over. I love seeing the water, the tall pine trees, the scent of earthy forest. I'm thankful I have a job, and that I'm lucky enough to belong to a gym and eat healthy, good food. There is so much here to be thankful for, so much to enjoy, I'm just so sick and tired of all the negativity.

5 comments:

Paula said...

Yes, as a business owner, the more they feature the downturn in the economy, the layoffs, what a bad position we're in, the sky is falling - the less people want to buy, because they are afraid. Admittedly there is a scary element to it - the scariest of which is that we keep spending money that we don't have to bail out everyone and everything under the sun (except the little guy). It IS interesting that here, good news is usually not "newsworthy". I agree - there could be some lessons and positive spin here somewhere. I wonder what Mexico would be like if all the papers screamed headlines of the things you describe. Instead, the average person probably just gets by, goes about their business, finds happiness in simple things and family.

Colleen said...

It's it always a little depressing to return home? But you brought it back beautifully because at one point you do re-appreciate your own country and home. I know I miss Greece, but I do love America.

- A - C - said...

well said Kristin. As for this crisis, this too shall pass.

Travis said...

welcome home Kristin! your pictures and stories were amazing. It was like going back to Mexico :)

Lisa said...

We MISSED YOU!!!! Welcome home. But I know what you mean about being slapped with reality after a week of dreaming.