there’s no place like home

by Andrea Elizabeth

Texas is not really an international place. Surely we have immigrants from other countries, but they are seen as foreigners and are expected to negotiate a Texan culture. The Grand Canyon 25 years ago was the first place I wandered around hearing more foreign languages than English, spoken by people who acted like they were equally entitled to speak their language and take their pictures as everyone else. National Parks are like that. I’ve now added the stickers of Acadia in Maine and Cape Breton National Park in Nova Scotia to my luggage. It’s interesting to see and hear other nationals act as they would in their own country instead of like visitors. Eastern Canada is largely bilingual anyway. Canadians may have had their power struggles with the Indians, English and French, but they seem to have a more pluralistic attitude about these differences and didn’t expect everyone to assimilate as the “Americans” do. I don’t like that term, as I’ve written before. Too exclusive of other North and South Americans.

I am getting more egalitarian in my own age. I like people behaving comfortably and naturally without feeling stifled by disapproving looks, if not worse. I don’t think I’m an anarchist because I do believe in laws, structure, and order. But not so much against personal proclivities I suppose. And with not so much taken for granted genetic or cultural virtue.

All that said, it’s good to be back over the U.S. border where despite the industrial yuckiness and brashness there is an undeniable surge of energy, which actually may have just been due to being able to take my phone off airplane mode. Using it for good, now that’s the challenge.

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