Friday, July 25, 2008

Man of the World

Team America! F-Yeah! That seems to be the dominant stereotype about Americans. You know, the one which implies that Americans could care less about other peoples of the world when it comes to our national agenda. While other nations view us as a nation of "cowboys" listening to country western music while eating hotdogs, I would share a quite different perspective. American culture is extremely diverse when compared with other nations around the world, and I believe that is something that should be celebrated. So today, honor our cultural diversity with one of these five activities that will make you feel more like a man (or woman) of the world without having to ever leave our native soil.

5. Take in an espresso in place of your morning coffee.

Instead of rushing around like a headless chicken take the time and sit down for a double shot of espresso. Go sit in a park, sip the beverage slowly, and take time to appreciate all the natural beauty of this country. If you want to feel especially cultured and have the chance, go to an art museum for a double dose of culture. I recommend sitting on a park bench, if only to watch others rush about their busy lives. Sometimes the one thing we forget to do in this country is sit back and appreciate the gift of life. That's something we can do better, and because of economic security (when compared with other nations) we have more opportunity than most to sit back and smell the roses. The first step is to get reconnected to the world and all the small wonders it holds.

4. Watch a futbol game on television

While this was much easier a few weeks ago when Eurocup was being televised a few weeks ago, there are still some exhibition games that one can catch on television if they look closely enough. While many Americans don't understand "soccer" and would prefer the NFL or MLB, I would invite them to take the opportunity to sit down with an aficionado of the game and truly learn its nuances and complexities. One will discover that there's a reason why most people around the world love it. There's nothing like watching a closely contested soccer match. World Cup, please return soon.

3. Rent a foreign film from blockbuster / netflix

Skip the summer blockbuster and instead take in a foreign film. You can earn extra bonus points if you watch the movie sans subtitles. Perhaps as a part of the experience you can cook cuisine in the style of the film and invite a few friends over. There are so many films from other countries that will not only broaden your horizons, but will entertain the crap out of you at the same time. This author recommends Pan's Labyrinth to begin your journey into the world of foreign film.

2. Go to a Muslim mosque, Jewish synagogue, Pentecostal church, Catholic church

One of the most beautiful Constitutional rights is the guaranteed freedom of religion that we have in this country. So this weekend take advantage of that freedom and attend a religious ceremony. I recommend going to another type of religious celebration other than your own. If you're catholic, take the opportunity to attend a synagogue. Call ahead of time and coordinate a discussion with the church elder or priest. Tell them you want to learn more about their religion firsthand, and what would be the best way to go about it. Maybe your shy and don't want to jump right in, but sit down and have a discussion with somebody of another religion and listen more than you talk. It will be a great experience to hear about somebody else's faith, while remaining firmly rooted in your own.

1.Register to Vote

Want to feel like you make a difference in this world? I recommend voting. If you haven't heard there's a little thing called a presidential election this fall, and your voice can have a very big impact. Sometimes people are turned off by the parties, politics, and candidates, but no single action (or inaction) will shape the course of the world more than your vote. It is not only a freedom which all Americans enjoy, it is our biggest responsibility. The next president will tackle major issues like the environment, poverty, and war, something that we all care about, regardless of how filled our schedules might become. Choosing the right person to lead our nation is perhaps the greatest thing one can do to ensure THE WORLD is a better place. As for this "V" list author, I'm going to spend less time running around frantically and take more time to smell the roses, and then blog about it. :)

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