Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Y'All Come Back Again Now, Y'Hear?

When you visit the Southern states here in the US, you may hear that phrase inviting you to come back again and take in the unique southern way of life. I think we are fortunate in that we have several very distinct regions in the US that are all so very different from each other and worth experiencing. I hope to take Petra and her son on a tour of the US over the next few years to see it all

But I also have a desire to see as much of the world as possible on this journey and having just come back from another visit to your wonderful country, I realized again the differences and why every american, if possible, should travel the world and see things with open eyes and a willingness to absorb the great history and cultures on this planet. With that being said, I would encourage people from around the world to come and visit us also and do so in the same way, with open eyes and a willingness to appreciate what makes America unique.

A few thoughts keep coming back to me after every visit to the Netherlands. They are not earth shattering ideas or rooted in political views but just some basic lifestyle things that make me feel comfortable every time I am there.

First, I love being in a country that is flat enough and small enough that people actually use bicycles to get around if they choose to. I have to say that one of the first things I look forward to is renting the bicycle and going about daily life knowing that I don't have to jump in the car to get everything done. Here, the great distances, and in my case, the hilly terrain makes using the bike very difficult. Also the bus and train service in the NL is terrific. I hope we realize that over the next generation in the US that we need to develop these services where possible. Again the great distances here are a little more challenging.

I love that on a nice day the Dutch take advantage by going on nice walks. On this walk I saw entire families, dogs and all, out enjoying nature. Good luck getting your kids here to get excited when you tell the, "let's go on a walk as a family."

Museums and lots of them. They say that there are more museums in the NL per population than any other country. I believe it and they are all interesting. In my opinion, we would be so far better off if a family outing involved visiting a museum instead of going to the mall and McDonalds for something to do.

You would have to be brain dead not to appreciate the beauty of a typical European street that might look like this. Being a relatively new country, we don't see stuff like this. Yes, we have our own charming places and we have been getting much better at preserving them but come on....I could walk up and down streets like this for hours and enjoy the fact that every other shop isn't a fast food joint. LOL

Town squares or plaza's. I love them. A great place to people watch and get a sense of community when large crowds gather and meet. When the towns and cities of the US were built, the square was used in many places but over time, most have gone. The space gobbled up by new office buildings or shops. What a shame.

I could go on and on but wanted to share a few things that seem to keep coming back to me every time I visit. I guess my idea here is that we are all different in good ways and there is so much to appreciate on both continents if you keep your eyes open and not go with preconceived ideas about a people or a country. I am really lucky that I have reason now to experience all of this. Thanks for anoter great time Petra.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't know what to say! It's great to see my own country through someone else's eyes!
By the way, when you visit us again...you seem to be fond of old places/cities/streets. So do pay a visit to Maastricht and it's region. It isn't all flat out there, but it's lovely. And old!!
I should know, as I grew up there...and was left with just a little bit of chauvinism. In a place like Rotterdam.
Thanks for this beautiful blog!

Anne Marie en Rocky