Tuesday, February 23, 2010


As I sat in class last night we debated a number of things. I sat realizing how little I know about recent United States issues, and perhaps dwelling on how little I care to know. One: should we allow a moment of silence (prayer for most, to whatever God, or, for an atheist, perhaps, acknowledgement of self) in our schools? There is a world of issues behind that one. Another: how old, or young, should we be giving our children cell phones? This one has come up numerous times in conversation since I got back from Bolivia four months ago. I myself am still getting used to having a cell phone and the idea of clinging to it like a lifeline after having one in Bolivia that’s only purpose was to sit in the window where it sometimes got reception so that on the off chance I remembered to take it to town, I could receive a call about getting a ride home. Since it was a pay-by-the-use phone, it didn’t matter if I ever used it. I wasn’t losing a monthly mini-fortune just to have it. My conclusion after one month of school in the United States, one month of eating, sleeping, traveling, and being sucked in by the world of television, movies, and life-sucking computers: I don’t want to raise my kids here. I don’t want to be here. It is the land of opportunity, and I definitely appreciate the opportunities I am afforded by being a United States citizen. It is the land of interconnectedness through the use of technology, though I would not say it is the land of interconnectedness in the category of actual community. Not for me, anyway. Communities are something we find online, drawing us even closer to those computers that somehow chain us. Over the last four years, I have become someone who doesn’t fit with the United States, and I must say the United States doesn’t fit with me either. I long for many of the things I left in Bolivia. Just this morning I dreamt about my precious friends at the orphanage next door. Ezekiel proudly showing me his woodwork from school, baby Belen’s precious face as she sucks her thumb. She’s probably walking by now. Yes, the United States is the land of opportunity and I am trying to soak in the opportunities I have here that I may not find elsewhere. Chocolate chips and Colby jack cheese are among the more fattening. Spending time with my parents, other family members, friends. Oh, how I missed doing that in Bolivia. Running. I can run here, and not be doing anything too far out of the norm and without getting heat stroke. I can sign up for long races and join thousands of other runners who somehow feel inspired by running as I do. I can use the internet in my room without going to an internet café, but if I want to go to a café, I can take my computer and buy a calorie-loaded Mint Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino to savor or chug while I “network.” Somehow I find that the land of opportunity for good somehow gets interpreted as the land of opportunity for bad, evil, mischief, etc. Opportunity for bad then equates itself to opportunity for fear, and opportunity for fear is reason enough to sit behind my computer where I am safely doing the things that don’t truly bring me life. An athlete at the Olympics last night, a skier, mentioned not having anything to lose. I want to go through life with that abandon. In doing something I love, “win or lose”, I can’t truly lose. I just end up with less points that someone else. But I don’t need to define winning or losing by points, but by life lived, experience had, joy shared.