What I like about America:

I went to an international evening of poetry at the local library this evening. They had four translators there, the host, the girlfriend of one of the translators...and me. I was the only real audience member. It was kind of unique.

It's gotta be really hard to translate poetry. You have to put it in language an English-speaker can understand, keep rhythm and rhyme as much as possible, and keep it still beautiful, hopefully as the original author intended. It means a very keen grasp of both English and the original language. Tonight they shared poems from Sweden (including a woman who was part of a anarchist surrealism group but got kicked out because she started producing art in the form of poetry), Spain (excerpts from a very long metered play from the 1600's), Iran (all diaspora), and China (including some interesting early Ho Chi Min work). Turns out Chinese poetry can be quite complex. Rhyming is easy, as there are half as many sounds in Chinese than English. But in classical Chinese poetry tones on successive lines should be opposite, but meanings concordant. (If I remember that right.)

After they thanked the audience for attending, I got to thinking. Yesterday someone got really angry with me because I suggested that a teacher invite their students over to the teacher's house. Evidently that's not done anymore in America, and I wasn't aware, or forgot. Lot's of things that I can't remember, or have forgotten. There were some women where I used to work in Morocco who would have a list displayed in their home of what they liked about Morocco, often things that were better there than here. It helped them appreciate where they were and not experience as much culture shock stress. I think I need to do the same thing with America. Not that Morocco is bad. Rather the opposite. If I'm going to be here for awhile, I need to see the good points of America, 'cause it's hard not to pine. So...

  • Poetry Readings are more accessible
  • Libraries are everywhere and thus you can read lots and lots of books
  • Easy to see the latest movies
  • Keeping up with favorite TV shows like Lost, the Office, and Smallville
  • Easy to catch up on shows I missed, like the last season of West Wing
  • More diversity in food choices ethnically (like good Lebanese food)
  • Easier to get archery training
  • Greater diversity in theological viewpoints
  • Easier to keep up with politics and the coming election
  • Burger King, Subway, & Taco Hell everywhere (though not necessarily a good thing stroke-wise)
  • Lots of green and parks (at least here in the NW)
  • Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and Diet Berries & Cream Dr. Pepper
  • Greater diversity in political viewpoints
  • Regular Open Worship
  • Fewer cultural restrictions on female relationships
  • Good spiritual encouragement in Grace from my Meeting
  • Salsa lessons freely available
  • Easier to find decent dance clubs without as much harassement

I think I'm out. You wanna help me? It's okay, we don't have to agree on the item. But can you think of any other ways living in America is better than Morocco? I need some encouragement.


drh said…
I dare you to post a video with you salsa dancing.

(Hey, I posted a picture of me swinging with a skeleton...)
@bdul muHib said…
Well, that entry is more of a hoped-for idea in the future- I haven't been salsa-ing for over a decade now.
Joe said…
Sorry, I can't contribute to the list until I can wrap my brain around the second sentence of the third paragraph: too many indefinite pronouns. I assume you are talking about someone who teaches in the US. I have no insight into whether it is (or ever was) appropriate to invite a student over. I suppose it is a legal liability thing. Not something that should provoke anger, I would think.
joe said…
Here are a few more:

- More variety of music on the radio (unless you prefer Arabic music)
- Fewer grumpy people and traffic jams during Ramadan
- More sensible traffic laws and drivers who obey them

I would disagree about Lebanese food; at least based on my experience from the Baltimore/DC area.
kara said…
-mcdonalds serves breakfast
-significantly less car horns
-pedestrians have the right of way
tp said…
-less stray dogs
-chocolate milk
Anonymous said…
Hey Abdul Muhib. I've enjoyed your blog lately. I thought of three things to enjoy over there, of course you'll have to remind me of this list next year when I'm adjusting...
1) 24-hour stores
2) breakfast anytime
3) slurpies, even with coca light
Take Care...
Bequita17 said…
1. Coconut Mmocha Frappaccinos @ Starbucks

2. Thai food everywhere

3. Christmas lights and Christmas music
Bequita17 said…
oh yeah,

4. Swing Dancing every Tuesday night at the Handelbar!!!

@bdul muHib said…
Well, at least you've got Collin's Thai place there!

It's funny, here I am in Seattle, but not a big fan of Starbucks.

Right now, whereever you go, it's actually Halloween lights and Haloween music. Seriously- on the TV, radio, in the stores. Didn't know it was it's own whole genre now.
Mary said…
1.decidous trees...

2. orange pumpkins of all sizes--- i had to search at least 6 pumkin stands for orange pumpkins... they are mostly green here if you have forgotten. ... like a watermelon. how does anyone celebrate halloween with a watermelon???

3. mosquito bites are usually out of season by november.... not here. itch-itch, scratch-scratch.
@bdul muHib said…
I had forgotten! Thank you for reminding me.

You'll have to see my recent poem- got some pictures of deciduous there.

We have a problem here now, that the mosquitos are getting too cold, so I'm told they're starting to come inside.

Thank you for now making this my most commented on post :-)

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