Isn't it interesting to hear what someone from another culture thinks of the United States? Admittedly, sometimes it's not flattering. But this one time, my whole understanding about the U.S. was re-shaped.
Sunil is a wise man. Smart too. He reads and stays up to date on numerous topics--that's what makes him smart. But he's wise because he ponders and contemplates issues and situations. Every single time I have a conversation with him, I come out of the discussion feeling like I've been given a gift.
Once, he leaned back on the sofa in my living room and proclaimed that the United States was an extraordinary place.
Sunil is a world traveler. He's seen a lot and I couldn't fathom why he thought the US deserved such a flattering accolade.
"From the beginning, Susan, this country was inhabited by the bravest, the most daring of men." His voice is deep and melodic and it's easy to get drawn into his explanations. So much so that the world around you disappears and all you can hear is his voice.
My mind sorted through images of Columbus, recalled stories of Jamestown and Plymouth--and the first settlers in the New World. Basically, his words drew to mind the pages of my junior-high history book.
"Do you understand? Those first colonists believed in a dream. They left their families, their jobs...their security and they climbed aboard ships and sailed around the world. The first settlers were among the most intelligent, strongest, iron-willed inhabitants of the entire world."
I let the words sink in. I'd read similar words in the text book but now they had a different meaning.
Years ago, a friend came to me and told me that she was looking for a new job. She'd seen certain signs that made her worried that her company was not going to make it. She was right. Sadly, other employees saw these same signs but the idea of finding a new job was so daunting that they clung on till the bitter end and then they struggled to find a new employment. That was just a job...
These early Colonist left everything behind. They came to the New World with practically nothing... including no certainty of survival.
"Your gene pool here is saturated with people that take risks, are high achievers...believe that they can do anything they set their mind on. It's extraordinary if you think about it."
I have been thinking about it.
My husband says that we've won the 'womb lottery'...we were lucky enough to be born in the United States. We don't have to make the hard decision whether to pick up and go across the globe for a chance at a better life.
We've been blessed with good genes. We have the capacity to dream bigger, work harder and reach further. Shouldn't it be our duty to help the tired, the poor...the huddled masses?
Have a happy July 4th!