I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly what to expect upon returning to good ol’Merica. I was too excited to see all of my family and friends again to really think much about it.
Would there be bald eagles soaring through the skies with freshly picked salmon in their beaks?
Would there be a group of poorly educated patriots protesting the arrival of foriegners on American soil from an Eastern European country?
Would I even have the credentials to get past the Maginot-esque Line of defenses set up at customs to keep our land of freedom, well….free?
After 7 fairly pleasent hours of generic hollywood excriment playing on my in flight television, and a perhaps a beer or two (hey, they were free), I touched down in Big Apple. Man, what a sight to see. I grew up fairly close to New York, and when I worked in Somers, I passed near the city almost every day; routinely making deliveries into New York made me pretty jaded about the city as a whole. You take it for granted after awhile. But words really can’t describe the feeling of seeing that mish mash of steel rising up from Manhattan Island. We owe the Dutch a firm handshake and thank you for swindling the natives out of that plot of land for $30 and a couple of a tea cups, or whatever bullshit they traded for it. I think they all moved to Jersey City after that. Sucks for them.
I stood at customs for god knows how long. JFK airport made sure to notify all of us entering the United States that we were not allowed to bring Giant African Land Snails. Sadly, this meant the end of line for my pet land snail that I had brought from Nigeria. I was also forced to stand in the agricultural imports line for the dastardly crime of having a piece of bread and a banana from the European Union. After the government assured that neither my bread roll nor my banana were terrorists, I was freely allowed to pass through the ropes, and into the open arms of America.
Difference number 1:
American Flags. American flags everywhere.
Damn, we are a patriotic nation. There are pretty much no Czech flags anywhere here in The CZ. Only on a few government buildings. Nationalism is generally frowned upon here in Europe. Perhaps because it resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people in the first half of the last century. I feel like everywhere I turned I saw a flag; at the airport, on billboards, on people’s shirts, on cars, pretty much anywhere with an open rectangular space. Not saying that flags are a bad thing. I too consider myself a bit patriotic about America, but I think we overdue it a little bit. When I came home late at night and saw a “pray your debt away” pastor flying the American flag as he claimed to be able to pray to god to make your credit card debts disappear, then I knew that things had gone too far.
Stay tuned for part 2.