I turn 27 today.. 27 years on this green earth and I feel like I’ve learned more about myself in the 3 weeks leading up to now than in all those years combined.
I went to Ireland again a couple of weeks ago and it was just as wonderful as I remembered. The country reminded me of my roots, as it does, but it also brought to light the changes that have occurred within me since starting this life of travel.
Mark Twain once said “Travel is fatal to prejudice”. I’ve always liked this quote, as I feel connected to it as a traveler that considers herself extremely open and tolerant of other people and cultures. The more I travel, the more this thought settles within me, yet at the same time, I have become less and less tolerant of my own culture. I recognized an air of near embarrassment when confronted with foreign perceptions of American ideals, American food, American politics (Don’t worry, we’re going to stay plenty far away from that one in this post), and other concepts.
What happens when you no longer feel pride in where you come from? We’ve brought this perception upon ourselves by thinking that every other country will cater to us and our needs when we travel. When I go abroad, or even just to another region of the US, I want to immerse myself in their culture! I want to try their food, drink their beer, listen to their music, experience all their differing talents. We all do, right? Everyone says that, but then why do we go through the trouble of flying a million miles abroad to bitch about the lack of ranch dressing and Dr. Pepper 🙄 and compare everything to how it is at home? So yes Mark, I agree with you that travel is fatal to prejudice, but for me, it’s also fuel for my burning inward prejudices.
After Ireland, I came home to good ol’ OKC for a visit, and what a time to be back in town. For those of you that live under a rock, Oklahoma has had a massive teacher walkout occur over the past nine school days. And may I just say FOR THE RECORD: It’s about DAMN time y’all. Once more a little louder for the people in the back: FIGHT👏🏻FOR👏🏻WHAT👏🏻YOU👏🏻DE👏🏻SERVE👏🏻 Whether you would like to acknowledge it or not, teachers make the motherloving world go ’round. To make them deal with hyperactive small people or moody medium-sized people on a daily basis, make them responsible for the education of our future leaders, AND take away all of their funding? Get out of here.. what did you expect to happen?
It was interesting for me, because coming home, I was prepared to hear a massive rally cry across the state and see everyone gushing their support in any way they could. You’ll understand my surprise when I got into my brother’s car at the airport and his first comments were about how annoyed he was with the walkout! You see, he’s a senior this year and knowing he’ll have to make up those days at the end of the year has effectively ruined his life. It’s funny to see that high school bubble in action when you’re an old geezer like myself. I can see now just how naïve I was to anything bigger than my own drama back then. I hope one day he’ll be able to look back and see how important this walkout was.
My Mr. Feeny in high school was a glorious woman named Rose Ann Neal. She made me love school. She challenged me, motivated me, respected me, and made me feel like I had nothing standing in the way of my crazy successful future. She gave meaning to literature, and frankly, to high school as a whole. I can say with absolute certainty that she’s a major part of the reason I went on to finish a Bachelor’s and a Master’s. BTW Mrs. Neal, if you’re reading this, I’m heading back to school for the third time next year, so thanks for that 🤓. Can you imagine if I had gone through school in classes of 35 kids? This whole post would be full of incorrect uses of there, there, their, then, and than! I mean, have you read anything on Twitter lately? THE INJUSTICE!
What I’m trying to say is, travel, teachers, and the Oxford comma are important.