Friday, September 11, 2009


i am a 100%, through-and-through, died-in-the-wool, American.

i'm not saying that that's a good thing, but it's the truth. and really i should say not just an american, but a Westerner; and not just any westerner, either, but an Oregonian.

way back in high school i became dedicated to 'seeing america first' (and not just because i was a fan of cole porter). deep down inside, i was a raving europhile. but i had no resources to fund a 6 week or 8 week soul-searching, backpacking/eurail pass adventure of the type i dreamed about. so, i pleaded the moral highroad of "america first!". gas was cheap, i had a small car, and i could drive all over the west - which is so full of amazing natural places that it was easy to justify.

culturally, though, i still struggled with our western-american-inferiority complex, and saw europe as the center of all - or at least, new york and europe in combination. american history, world history, art, architecture, museums, opera, music, dance - it flowed from there. then i finally got a chance to live there, in central Germany, from 2005-2007.

i moved there at the height of my own anti-american stance. but in the process of living there is when i fully understood that i was an incurable american - an incurable westerner - for good or ill.

this blog is going to be just a sort of series of reflections mostly on what that mean to me, observations about life in germany as an american, thoughts about the west in general, and about rural life. i don't pretend to have any answers or new insights. but it's stuff i like to think about. since i have 2 kids and a partner, there'll no doubt be some random family waffle too.

i was thinking of titling this blog 'americans and other freaks of nature' at first. but probably not everyone revels in our freakiness, so that may sound too negative. but what do you call uncivilized people? wild? we aren't wild anymore; not even in the west. half-wild though - that seemed appropriate.

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