Photos Above (top to bottom): Chile, Panama, Chile, Panama
Creep back eight years ago. Remember Inauguration 2001? Remember the cheering crowds during the inauguration parade? No. Me neither. I remember that Bush could not get out of his limo and walk in the parade because there was such anger over the election debacle. I remember the screaming angry crowds, the signs, the sadness that so many felt cheated. Also, what is your answer to the following questions:
Is employment higher or lower?
Is crime higher or lower?
Is national debt higher or lower?
Is our image in the world better or worse?
Is our economy better or worse?
Is the stock market better or worse?
Is our military stronger or weaker?
Is the dollar stronger or weaker?
Is education better or worse?
Fast forward to January 20, 2009. What a Difference a Day Makes.
Greg and I left the US, not because of Bush, but to have adventure, live simply and for less. People leave their homelands for many reasons. Work, or business, political or religious prosecution, dissolution over politics, or for travel and adventure. I think sometimes people automatically think ex-pats have left because they are ex-patriots...no longer patriotic. A blog I follow, www.residentexpat.blogspot.com features a header:
"From the Medieval Latin expatriatus....an expatriate is one who leave(s) one's native country to live elsewhere". She goes on to say: This is a blog of a long time expatriate, her life's adventures, her pursuit of meaning and her attempts to escape CHAOS (can't have anyone over syndrome).
So, as she is a journalist, economist, and educator, I will adopt her definition, and add to that, an ex-pat is an adventurer, because, Why Not. How we become ex-pats is not so important as the way we experience the experience is important. Successful ex-pats seem to roll with the flow, embrace their new culture, all the while still caring very deeply about the home country they left behind.
I have walked the dusty roads of Costa Rica, stomped scorpions, and burned my feet on the black sand of it's beaches. I have maneuvered through military check-points in Panama, dodged landslides and nursed coffee plants in her western highlands. I have endured an exploding volcano, stared vertigo-stricken at ice-blue glaciers and pushed a Nissan truck up snowy mountain roads in Chile. There are so many memorable things from my up-to-now adventure as an ex-pat, but none will compare in scope to to watching the United States of America have a good, clean, hard-fought election on my ratty, ash-encrusted computer here in Futalandia.