Saturday, September 11, 2010

I like to be in America

It looks as if this week’s storm in a teacup may be blowing over. Obama’s call for tolerance following the mad Pastor’s Koran burning threat has not even featured on Fox News’ politics site and CNN have done a brilliant job reassuring us that the American melting pot is a happy love-in with a story about two guys on a road trip “Ali and Tariq were embraced nearly everywhere they went, from a Confederate souvenir shop in Georgia to the streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, to the hills of North Dakota” ...

Here in Campusville the locals certainly do their bit to reach out across cultural boundaries, making us feel very welcome despite our eccentric Anglo-ways. Advice and invitations abound from fellow parents, whether its Pamela in the playground, Janey in the bookshop and Christie in the coffee shop. The grocery store’s exotic international aisle even has a UK shelf baring marmite, Tetley teabags, baked beans and Ready Brek (don’t it make you proud).

In return, we’ve done our best to get on and fit in. I’ve got face ache and exhaustion from my efforts to be smilier, earlier and cleaner than comes naturally. And when our new friends tell us proudly that there’s a sing-along at the toy-store, a new-mom meet-up in Starbucks or baby yoga at the expensive gym in the next town I resist the temptation to boast about England's Children's Centres. Would the moms and dads here be envious if they knew? You don’t miss what you never had I guess. And thanks to their confident networking abilities and strong spending power, America’s ‘big society’ seems to be thriving all by itself in this middle class town.

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