Back to the US of A – Guest blog by my husband – About America 1

I’m going through a bit of culture shock.   I’ve been back to the U.S. once a year for the past few years to see my family, but this year I’m combining visits to church synods and a general assembly, on behalf of the Reformed Churches in The Netherlands, and therefore a lot of travel through the U.S., with a vacation at the end in Boston at my parents’ apartment in Boston.

It’s been a fruitful trip till now.   I’ve greeted our sister-church, the Reformed Church in the U.S., at their Synod in Rapid City, South Dakota, and our contact-church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, at their General Assembly in Wheaton, Illinois, near Chicago.   And now we’re heading for Nyack, New York, near New York City, where I hope to greet the United Reformed Churches in North America, at their Synod.   During these gatherings, and travelling to them, Margreet and I have seen a lot of America, travelling by car.   South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and now Pennsylvania, and the big cities of Kansas City and St. Louis in Missouri, and Chicago in Illinois.

I am impressed by the size of this, my country.  It’s one thing to see how big the U.S. is on the map.  It’s another to drive through it.   Big spaces, big distances, never-ending prairies, never-ending traffic jams (in Chicago).

yes, this is someone running in the middle of the Interstate

I still feel an American.  Yet I’m experiencing a growing sense of cultural alienation.   All these obese people driving to all these drive-in fast-food restaurants in the endless “strips” bordering every exit to every highway, waddling in and out to get their food “fixes,” like some weird overweight zombies.  All these restaurants and the ugly cheap “hotels” (which we are using as places to stay), with their mindless, stereotype architecture, surrounded by acres of empty asphalt: is this supposed to be the envy of the world?

Not everything is numbingly disgusting in America.  Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, is a shimmering oasis of beauty, with beautiful old mansions and their shining green lawns, under spectacular, huge, ancient trees.  But Oak Park is surrounded by decrepit, depressing, tree-free slums full of black people who seem to be hopeless refugees in their own country.

The few rich enjoy their beautiful mansions.  The many poor try to hold on.  The great middle class is nauseatingly obese and aspires only to a trip to McDonald’s as its highest goal.

Is this the America I am a supposed to be proud of?  Kim

Auteur: Margreet

Ik vind het heerlijk om te peinzen over de dingen van alledag, de grote en de kleine. Mijn interesses? Lezen, gesprekken met vrienden en kinderen, koken, tweedehands spulletjes zoeken, films kijken, mijn kleinkinderen, mijn Amerikaanse en Franse familie, te veel om op te noemen. Het volle, rijke, soms moeilijke leven met zijn ups en downs, daarover schrijf ik, met plezier.

5 gedachten over “Back to the US of A – Guest blog by my husband – About America 1”

  1. dag Margreet en Kim,

    leuk om op deze manier iets van jullie reis mee te krijgen. Een intrigerend land lijkt me. Veel zegen op jullie verdere verblijf daar.

    groet, ook namens Jolanda en Job, Thijs van de Kamp


  2. Hmm well, I read that obesity is creeping up in Holland too…
    and most people I know here run an hour each day and are aspiring to join in marathons.
    Much bleaker picture of the US than I have after living here for 22 years.
    All those people in their little ticky tackhouses in Holland ,with their cosy alcoholic beverages and all their opinions also not very inspiring ,Kim….


  3. Oh…Give the man a little room to be disappointed with his own folks 🙂
    He has a lot of positive things to say I’m sure, in a next blog..And traveling 4000 miles does give one a chance to see a lot of people, obese or trim! .
    By the way, Janke, talking of opinions…I cannot find you on FB anymore between the Ron Paul posts? Are you campaigning for him?


    1. To me the voice of Ron paul is just the voice of common sense.
      Like an ideal responsible house father.
      Most democrats are just ostriches dreaming beautiful dreams with their heads in the sand and the foreign policy of most Republicans scares the living daylight out of me.


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