American Apathy

It feels dear reader, like the first ten days in America, have passed with rather agonizing slowness. I didn’t realize just how difficult it would be to acclimate in the first place. I missed two appointments, one with a friend, and one with a doctor. In the Netherlands, this is something I never do. Part of it, I think, is the stop and go nature of emptying out of storage. It wasn’t like we could do it all in one day. And we had to take four days to do it. But we couldn’t do it on consecutive days either and so what should’ve been a three or four-day ordeal ended up being a 10-day ordeal with one or two days in between each foray, means that it’s a slow process indeed. In addition, I am in Rockville and there’s no real reason to go down to DC if I don’t have some kind of plan. And so I’ve been sticking around Rockville.

My dad still works and so it’s very hard to see him during the day when I have time, and he’s been working until 9 o’clock at night. So I haven’t seen very much of him outside of storage anyway. So what’s a girl to do? Essentially I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of reading. I have not yet been to the Writers Group but I’m planning to go this coming week. I had a couple of friends in town over the weekend one of which help me with storage and the other was here with her mom doing touristy stuff. I also got a chance to see my sister. My dad is definitely complaining at the lack of time spent with him.

It’s definitely true that I don’t actually feel at home in the US anymore. My values don’t match. I’m not sure that they ever did. When people tell me “the state is not your mommy and daddy” I get really annoyed at their simplistic view. The fact is that we live in a society communally. We are not living in bubbles by ourselves. So if I can pay a little bit more taxes to help someone else down the road live a better life, I absolutely don’t mind doing that. I don’t consider my money, or your money, or their money, it is our money. And it should be put forth to help those in need. And ourselves. On balance I think I love that I live in the Netherlands, where nobody bats an eye at this idea. After all, with 35% percent of the Netherlands below sea level and essentially reclaimed from the sea, what that means is that if Rotterdam doesn’t protect her dikes, Amsterdam floods. There is no yours, mine, or theirs, there is just ours. America’s extreme individualism and lack of feeling for others is a real turn off. People like to play the game of being kind by giving to charity and raising money for issues but talk to them about universal healthcare and universal education through university, and they panic. And it makes me sad. Instead, it is OK for young people to go into debt to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars or more just to get an education. There aren’t that many scholarships out there and there aren’t that many kids receiving them.  It’s ok for them to pay upwards of $400 per month in insurance. It’s ok for them to need to live at home till they’re 40 because they simply can’t afford rent.

Where it not for my sister and the fact that Jasper likes being with his family. I think I would go back to the Netherlands sooner. While it’s true that I don’t have that many Dutch friends, because people aren’t that open to new friendships, they are satisfied with the ones that they have, they are in spite of that a little bit kinder to each other. They make sure that everyone has access to healthcare and contrary to how Americans view Europe, the healthcare isn’t free. I pay €170 for it and within that, I get a bit of physical therapy, my primary care physician is covered in that price, as are my dermatology screenings. It’s not a lot but it does help. There are some hopeful signs of change here in America In the run-up to the elections in 2020. A lot more young people are getting on board with the idea of universal healthcare. Whether it changes for real or remains something theoretical, is a problem for another day.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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