So I just got back from spending some time overseas, and I feel a little like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, talking about all the little differences between other countries and ours. Royale with cheese is a real thing my friends, but that's not really what I wanted to get into (plus, I prefer Big Kahuna burger).
I believe it's my 8th or 9th time in Europe, and each time I come away with some type of lesson or experience. Anyone who's ever been probably already knows that one of the first culture shocks is just how old everything is. Here in the US, we're used to strip malls, skyscrapers, and Starbucks that we'd be lucky to call older than ourselves. It makes sense, good ol' America is all about staying current, evolving and being on the forefront of technological advancements. And don't even think about putting us in a wifi-less location for more than a couple hours.
But the biggest thing that traveling in Europe (or anyone else for that matter) does for me is give me a sense of appreciation and perspective. I get to appreciate certain advantages that I am given here that I probably wouldn't get if I were a citizen of another country.
I also get to see perspectives outside of our own. After all, you hear about people in other countries all the time, but unless you actually speak and interact with them, how do you know how they truly feel about certain topics? I was questioned a lot on the US' current political climate, and without getting too politically charged, I'll say that my understanding is that many that I spoke to couldn't understand how we could elect a "man" such as Trump to be our President (see what I did there). Unfortunately I couldn't really explain in an easy way, other than to simply let people know that we have a fairly poor education system here in the US.
In the short time I've been alive on this earth, I really haven't learned much. But one thing I have learned to be true, is that it's important to be humbled, and understand your place in the world. The bigger the sphere of understanding and perspective grows around you, the more you can put into perspective the kind of life you should be living.
It's taking me longer than I would like it to, but I think at some point....after perhaps a few more trips with more nights filled with wine and tapas, I'll eventually figure it out. And when that happens, we'll have another national embarrassment that forces us to apologize to the citizens of the globe all over again.
In the meantime, Salud.