Sunday, July 12, 2009

The New Vista Point

Ah, America - land of the free, home of the brave - where roads are paved with gold and dreams come true. So far, I have been back for just 13 days and in a way it seems more like 13 months and in others it seems like just 13 hours. As of yet, I can't quite say that I've experienced this so called reverse culture shock - well maybe not in the same way that those hours upon hours of group sessions with AFS made a difference (you AFSers know what I'm talking about). So far, I can just honestly say that I see things differently.

Let's take motorized vehicles for example. In America it is a commonality for a family to have two or more vehicles. It is common for said family to drive said vehicles daily to just about anywhere besides their next-door neighbors house. It is also common that said vehicles are large and usually quite fuel consuming. In Denmark, it is a commonality for a family to have one car, maybe even two per family. It is common for said family to drive their car if they are in need of transport to long distances or if they need to move the whole family. It is common for said vehicles to be on the smaller scale and to be quite used (meaning they don't exchange them every two or three years). It is also common for said vehicles to do okay to pretty good when it comes to using their fair share of petroleum.

With this established, we shall examine my pre-Denmark point of view on the ever debated motorized vehicle front. First and foremost, how would a family survive off of only one vehicle? It is common these days for both spouses in a family to work, so if there was only one vehicle how would both make it to their jobs on time? What about if they had kids or family close by? It really only makes sense to have more than one vehicle. In all reality, a good economical car and a large truck is most ideal - the car for day to day use to work, the grocery store, and to pick up the kids and the truck for moving and hulling big stuff around for the weekend project and backyard intervention.

Now let's look at my post-Denmark point of view of these metal boxes on wheels. Initial reaction: geez, why do we need such large vehicles? It seems pointless to have all of these SUVs and Jeep looking things because I bet you 100 kroner that they aren't using them to move things. This is just plain ridiculous. In fact, I think it might even just be our culture to have large and new vehicles. It's like a frenzy - the newer and the larger and the more enhanced the vehicle the better. American culture is the epitome of consumerism and materialism. We show our social status and financial success through the things we own and what better way to show the world how great we are then through our cars which we drive everywhere we go, no matter how close they are to our place of dwelling.

This is just one example of my year's doing. It is like, everything I use to know and use to think I know has gotten turned around and landed upside down in this whirlwind of cultural exchanges. And to think that this is just the beginning of the changes to be noticed. It takes time to notice them too because it's hard to see the change when you experience the evolution.

No comments: