back in the states

April 11, 2008 at 2:51 am (chiapas, mexico)

so we have been back in the states for almost a week.  we had a crazy journey home.  we were basically stuck in an airport for three days.  with aza.  she was incredible for those days.  very patient with us…

i have been in a slight culture shock for the past few days back in the states.  i keep translating american dollars into mexican pesos and so everything seems so expensive.  but i am loving being reimmersed in us pop culture.

on the other hand i can barely remember san cristobal chiapas right now.  it seems like it was a different world in a time far far away.  i remember how beautiful the gardens were during the day with huge green leaves framing the sky blue.  i remember us sitting on the bed laughing.  i remember walking with aza through the crooked silly streets and being asked who the father was.  i remember aza chasing after the kitty while kitty was breastfeeding and aza trying to pull the kitty off her mamas teet.  i remember nights out with empty beer bottles on the table after a couple of hours.  i remember sitting on the ground at the encuentro with aza in the rebozo-all of my clothes dusty including my hair-rocking back and faorth waiting for the evening to come.  i remember waking up with flowers and coffee and bread and butter laying on the bed.

and now i am back here. the states.  a funny homeland.  what does it mean that ones homeland is the empire?  how do you call that home?  and yet accept all of the truth of one’s land.  this is the question that come to mind time and time again as i was in mexico.  this westerness/ us citizenship is a contested privilege to carry into the world.

most of us in the states dont realize just how privileged we are as being us citizens.  and honestly the privilege is not what we think it is going to be.  we really grew up with the idea of being a us citizen as being that we are a member of the greatest country in the world.  us nationalism is drilled into us in a way that is not common in other western countries.  i grew up hearing or saying the pledge of allegiance every school day.  i still feel my chest rise when i hear the star spangled banner.

but deeper we have been indoctrinated that our country has the best resources.  the best healthcare.  the best schools.  the healthiest food.  the most access.  and it is so far from true. we are not number one.  or number two.  more like number 76.  more like number 123.

but the privilege that we have is not necessarily from having the best resources directed to our citizens…
it is because we own the world.

and everytime i travel i am amazed at what we as us citizens have sacrificed in order to own the world.  and as we interact with other cultures we are better able to see all levels of quality of life of love of community in order to have an empire.

just look at our military budget.  and then look at our minimum wage.

so that is what partially this re-entry culture shock is about.  the way so often that us citizens think that every country that isnt us (or at least isnt first world) has to be worse living conditions than the us.  and yes in some ways yes.  i do not want to downplay what we have stolen from other countries in order to increase our empire.  and how we are responsible for the lack of resources in other countries.  but  also look at what our empire-building has stolen from us citizens as well.  we arent number one.  no where near it.  we just have the empire.  and the mouthpiece.  and the borrowed cash from china (?).

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