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thewayIzeeit
 
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JUST (ified) OPINIONS?

17 September 2012, 12:20

Now that I have eventually started publishing my writing, it’s like I have writer’s block and at times struggle to find something “worthy” to write about. I am trawling through some previous pieces and found that with just the slightest editing, many of them are as relevant today as they were when they were first written.

This particular piece was drafted while I was in the USA and was my observations and opinion at the time.

“By the time you're read this, I will be a few days shy of my one year anniversary here in the “good ole USA”, and it’s been so memorable seeing seasons change, and along with it, my first interaction with snow…

Just two months ago the trees (or forest) that is my home were bereft of any leaves, now it is all full and lush – green everywhere! Flowers are blooming and its mowing season and every Tom, Dick and Harry (or should I say – Larry, Mo and Curly) are out mowing their lawns.

And while everyone in Cape Town was sweating in the February heat, I had to learn how to deal with temperatures that often fell below zero.

It was so amazing to see and touch snow - my house, car and the entire area was coated in white and only copious amount of hot chocolate provided from the cold.

Of course autumn was just as amazing, with beautiful shades of browns everywhere and thousands upon thousands of leaves falling – and yes, I played in the leaves as well.

Besides being able to play, I am fortunate enough to learn so much from working and living here in the United States.

This is my third time here and having lived and worked here has certainly helped me re-adjust some perceptions I had about this country and its people.

Being a foreigner in this country has given me amazing insight and being "more mature" now has afforded me the wisdom to know when to speak up and when to shut up.

Some of the wonderful things I have discovered about Americans are that they are really a caring and giving people.

When needed, or not, so many Americans give to charity that some organizations cannot keep up with the intake of donations, be it food, clothing or money.

Many, many of them are as disillusioned by George Bush and his policies as the rest of the world. A great many, even those who are Republicans, disapprove of US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I believe that the lack of knowledge about other cultures merely exists because of lack of information and inter-action with them.

People here in the USA are as curious about what goes on in the rest of the world and are not only willing to listen, but some appreciate the knowledge that you share with them.

The media is extremely powerful, and its messages reach over 250 million of its citizens and now, thanks to the internet, many are able to find out what they want to know for themselves.

Where I live, no-one locks their doors, unemployment is at 3% and crime is down annually, so it feels good to walk around late at night, take a bus or train in the early hours and not feel fearful all the time.

I keep up with the local news via the internet and feel quite disheartened at the continuing increase in crime back home, especially when “bad” headlines glare out at you on the front pages.

It's different when you are home, you just accept that which happens around you as unavoidable, bemoan your circumstance and because you have nowhere else to go, try to do whatever you can to keep yourself and your family safe.

Everyone here asks me about crime, AIDS, race relations and poverty all the time – “what would you say??”

It's hard to brag about the impending World Cup 2010 and at the same time try to explain why tourists are being mugged on Table Mountain at an ever increasing rate.

It's even harder to encourage people to visit South Africa when CNN and other major networks focus on only the negative.

I play my part in helping people here better understand "US", but before I do, I always say "Hey, I don't' speak for everyone, but can share with you what I know in order to help you better understand “US"

So as I enter my second summer, I look forward to meeting new people from around the world and continuing to tell the truth – The Way I Zee it”

Like I said at the beginning – this was written a while ago and I still feel the same responsibility – only now the roles are reversed – I help inform and try to influence the opinion of those here in South Africa about all and sundry and also about  those “over there” in the USA.

 These are my opinions and could be termed “generalisations” - they will of course differ from yours and that's ok – because it is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment that will help us better understand each other.

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