Okay, today this blog comes in two parts. The first part for those who just want to catch up on some of what we’ve been doing and the second for those who would appreciate some deeper thoughts about America and Australia and national patriotism.
As I mentioned yesterday, today we drove from L.A. to San Diego. My wife’s twin sister drove the whole way and did remarkably well. Whilst driving on the opposite side of the road is not rocket surgery, it’s certainly not a walk in the park when everything is on the other side that you’re used to and thus none of your natural reflexes and muscle memory are correct. My congratulations goes to her especially because I almost drove the wrong way down a one way street later in the day :-S
The drive here was certainly ripe with amazing sights to see, we took a slightly more coastal route and ended up stopping for a brief break just after Huntington Beach, got some tasty smoothies and met some lovely girls behind the counter that were very friendly. We also passed the famous Laguna beach!
Soon after we arrived at our new accommodation (which is really Kool except the person who owns it is CLEARLY into the new age movement) we went to some of the shopping malls/outlets right next to the Mexican border. It’s amazing how much cheaper some of the stuff is here!!! I bought two pairs of Levis for the same price, if not slightly less, than I could buy one for at home!
Having largely skipped lunch (except for some delicious cheese snacks made by our host who has a cheese making business) we were all fairly hungry and a little tired so we traveled into San Diego to ‘Little Italy’, a little Italian precinct within San Diego for some dinner. Little Italy is a really Kool area and a must do for anyone who visits this area. Following dinner we went for a walk down to the harbour, then got slightly lost/lost the car and now here I am writing to you (having found the car)!
For those of you seeking a light read, thank you for reading. It is now my recommendation that you stop… have a nice day 🙂
One thing that has struck me since we’ve been here is the obvious difference between Americans and Australians when it comes to a sense of national patriotism. It’s hard to go any kind of distance in America without seeing an American flag hoisted in someones back yard, off someones car, out the front of someones business etc. Generally when you see Americans singing their national anthem on T.V. they’re often upstanding, singing loudly with a fist upon their chest. One thing that sticks out to me about Americans is that… they actually like America… they like themselves.
In Australia it is so a part of our culture to be negative about things, whether that be complaining or a light hearted sarcastic joke. Either way we can often be a fairly negative people. Obviously I neither speak for every Australian or every American but as a general rule I think I’m fairly on the money. Or, perhaps I just speak as one with a log in my own eye, I know I’m definitely guilty.
I think when many Australians think of Americans proclaiming “God bless America”, or the Marines chanting “HOO-RAH!” or very vocal claims that America is the greatest country in the world we tend to roll our eyes and think that Americans are just deluded idiots. Many Australians have ve
ry little if any sense of national pride and if someone were to have a go at our way of culture/way of life would be just as likely to shrug it off with a casual “righto mate, she’ll be right”. Now obviously there’s a balance here but I think it an attractive thing that Americans actually like America (as a culture) and are proud enough of it to defend it.
If you think of the foundation of the settlement of these two countries it all starts to make sense. Australia was a nation largely made up of ‘lower class’ criminals who were forced to come to the Great South Land. Some probably wanted to come, some certainly didn’t. America however was founded upon a people group fighting for something they truly wanted – liberty, independence, to be their own people. They fought for an ideal, something they thought was a good idea and REALLY believed in. Skip a few years into the future and here we are – one country and people which in many ways still has a roll over kind of attitude and kind of likes itself and one country and people who are proud to be who they are, because they forged their own path and identity.
As a final thought; as a Christian I believe it a hugely sinful and arrogant attitude to take pride for (<–‘for’ is a purposefully chosen word, as opposed to ‘in’)… well basically anything. But if we take the example of America – it would be wrong for an American to stand up on their soap box and say “Look how fantastic we are, we did this…” with no acknowledgment that the real credit is due to a sovereign God who either permits or causes every event that is. The credit, ultimately, is due to Him. It is good though, I think, to identify good things we have done and take encouragement, whilst giving the glory to God. So when I look to America as a Christian, I am reminded that God is sovereign over all things and to Him and Him alone be the glory. But I should look to the examples of others where they have done well and seek to emulate that to the glory of God.