I have been reading traveling information at Lonely Planet's online forum the last three days. I found some interesting threads which has proven somewhat helpful. Andrew and I are considering a trip overseas one day. I am back and forth on it really. We aren't usually overly-adventurous preferring to enjoy places within the United States and comforts of home. But maybe we should venture out of our comfort zones and our need to be around English speakers all the time. Hmmm. We'll see. We went ahead and applied for passports since that is necessary to travel out of the country. So we will, at least, be ready if the opportunity arises for us to travel.
A friend pointed out an interesting article yesterday (Democratic Primary Boosts U.S. Image Around the World) about how the world views the recent Democratic nomination of Barack Obama. It was really interesting and amazing to see how many places keep track of our Presidential elections. One of my favorite reactions to Obama's win over Hillary Clinton is from the Kenyans. I thought this was cute:
In Kenya, Obama's victory was greeted with unvarnished glee. In Kisumu, close to the home of Obama's late father, hundreds crowded around televisions to watch Obama's victory speech Wednesday morning, chanting "Obama tosha!" which translates as, "Obama is enough!"
"Our fortunes as the people of Kenya are certain to change. Obama knows our problems and I'm sure he has them at heart," said Salim Onyango, 32, a shoe shiner in Kisumu. "When he becomes president, he will definitely put in place support for us in Kenya."
Sam Onyango, a water vender in Kisumu, said: "Obama's victory means I might one day get to America and share the dreams I have always heard about. He will open doors for us there in the spirit of African brotherhood."
This part about skin color is fascinating! Do people in other nations really judge skin color like that? I know here we've tried to get people not to notice we are various shades.
His father's journey to America as a Kenyan immigrant resonates with millions of migrants. Many people interviewed said that the son's living in Indonesia for several years as a child doesn't qualify as foreign policy credentials, but it may give him a more instinctive feel for the plight of the developing world.
"He's African, he's an immigrant family; he has a different style. It's just the way he looks -- he seems kind," said Nagy Kayed, 30, a student at the American University in Cairo.
For many, Obama's skin color is deeply symbolic. As the son of an African and a white woman from Kansas, Obama has the brownish "everyman" skin color shared by hundreds of millions of people.
"He looks like Egyptians. You can walk in the streets and find people who really look like him," said Manar el-Shorbagi, a specialist in U.S. political affairs at the American University in Cairo.
In many nations, Obama's youth and skin color also represent a welcome generational and stylistic change for America. Obama personifies not the America of Bush and Vice President Cheney but the nation that produced Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods -- youthful, dark-skinned sports stars who are deeply admired household names around the world.
It's funny how excited much of the world is over Obama. He has become a political sensation quickly! I still remember first hearing his name just a few short years ago. I thought he was memorable basically because his name sounded different. Who knew he'd rise to stardom so fast and become the Democrats' choice for President?! Wow!! It'll be interesting to see if he chooses Hillary Clinton as his running mate. I heard a poll this morning that 60% of the Democrats said he SHOULD ask Hillary to be his VP. Also a poll indicated if the elections were held today, Obama would defeat McCain by 6 percentage points. I think the nation is swept with Obama Fever! :-)
In other news .... Here lately my thoughts have really been challenged by things I have become aware of by my reading and discussions with others. It's hard to change views that are so deeply ingrained in you that you didn't even realize you had them so strongly. Well, in my case I think they were just part of my Christian "culture" ... things I absorbed as my own without even realizing I'd done so. Amazing how that happens! Perhaps I'll share more about these changing views at another time.
In funny news ... My mom relayed this story after talking with her mom last night. There is a missionary staying at the church's prophet chamber this week. The missionary is Kenyan, and, I believe, he is a missionary to his own people. I'm not sure why he is visiting the States. Perhaps he is raising support for the ministry in his country. The funny part is he didn't know how American toilets worked. Apparently he did not understand how to flush toilets so he must have poured water down it which works to flush, but not to refill the bowl. He called my uncle and asked him how that worked. I never really thought of toilets being different in other parts of the world. Hmmm. I really do think American, don't I? :-)
Okay, this is enough for now.