Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Political Viewpoints in other Cultures

As I reflect on our wonderful holiday in Europe, it strikes me how beneficial it was for Meggar to sit in people's homes and participate in their regular lives. So much of the political, economic, and religious views of each family came into the conversation and way of living. We heard about Cambridge students complaining that their higher education may no longer be completely free/provided by the government. My college student's ears pricked up at that one. And we looked at our receipt from the department store to see a shocking 19.6% sales tax. We enjoyed reading the free newspapers on the London Underground because the World Cup was featured as well as articles about the newly-elected coalition government in Britain (Cameron and Clegg). In France, the weekend Newsweek had an English-language insert so we could read about Michael Buble and laugh at the cartoons of President Sarkozy. We watched the Frechet children doing vast amounts of homework on Saturday. School is not out for the summer until July. Charlotte was busy with exam preparation and getting letters from universities, though she still doesn't know which ones will accept her yet. She is graduating at the end of June. The French family has also just sold their home and bought a flat closer to a city Metro station. The cost of housing was staggering to this Midwestern mind. In Germany, the posters for the Normandy celebration were everywhere. And lots of concerts planned for Chopin in the 200th year since his birth. Not only was it beneficial for Meggar but also for me to step outside of my comfort zone/Missouri perspective. It enlivened me to have so much world news at my fingertips again. Of course, I also relished the opportunity for deeper conversations with the moms (Aliette and Jutta and Lisa and Daphne and Marian) about the future our children and grandchildren will inherit.

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