Latitude Adjustment Needed, maybe even Longitude 

4 May 2017, 16:13 EDT

We spent a great day on Key West. We are headed north, to our next stop – Big Pine Key. Beautiful skies, clear water, boats, and birds follow us along the journey. Another adventure. 

Yesterday, we parked somewhere just off of Duvalian, which was amazingly not hard to find. We sipped a bit, ate some good food and stapled our own dollar bill to the tree, and met a really curiously cool shopkeeper from Israel. Today we got up late, had a nice breakfast at the hotel restaurant, and toodled around Key West downtown before heading north on US 1.  Our waiter was from Romania, working on his LPR status and happy to be of any help he could provide. Just like the Israeli shopkeeper from yesterday, I felt welcomed and happy that she was so excited to help us out. From the both of them, along with the South African shopkeeper from this morning, and the French baker, we were met with so many interesting and fun nationalities all around our stay in Key West. 

Although I do not wish to get into a political argument, this makes me think about all of those people out there, brave enough to get on a plane, alone, and move to a country to which they have never been.  They are actually happy to be here, unlike so many other Americans, born and raised here. Not that those people aren’t brace. They do rave things every day. But flying to a new land, where you don’t speak the language fluently, making a go of it? That’s some bravery right there. 

The news channels may or may not be reporting the immigration-Trump issue correctly; this I do not know. I can tell you, though, that I would rather have forty immigrants who want to work, who have a good attitude, and who are brave enough to go it alone in a new land than I would to have four hundred lazy Americans. It’s amazing to me to see all of the people here who simply do not want to work. Can they all? No. There are many who cannot. But there are some who can. If you can afford to fly to Hawaii four times in a year, and you’re healthy enough to do so, you can work. Any other excise simply is only an excuse. Laziness is not an option for the brace. They work their asses off to get done what needs to be done. 

The immigration discussion makes me, most of all, sad. Sad that our own children may not be open to ideas like we were. Not open to other cultures and understanding that the world in which they live is a tiny dot on the face of the planet. Not knowing that a new car every year isn’t the most important thing, as is neither a Louis Vitton $6,00 purse you’re going to set on the bathroom stall floor, or an ugly electric lamp that highly resembles something that needs to be in the red light district, not your living room. A wide variety of things, but I guess I’m just way more interested in learning new things, experiencing new cultures, and being a more well rounded person that someone who grew up in and now fully remains ensconced in small town America because I’m too damned afraid to allow any new ideas to come into my head. That’s just not for me. Travel, as always, opens my heart and mind, makes me remember that my little world is just that tiny speck on the map, and that my own situation is not nearly as bad as it may seem every once in a while. Travel, in all of its forms, is good. 

Immigration is one way that we, as Americans, can expand our minds. When I was in the third grade, a family moved into our town. They were from Laos and had been brought over by someone who lived in our town who did mission work there. The family, 13 folks in all, didn’t speak English. The school (or someone) bought Laos-English dictionaries. Only about 7 years or so after the fall of Saigon, the Vietnam War still stung many, causing them to have harsh feelings toward the new family. Some members of my own family and friends’ families weren’t that open to them being there. They were outsiders. They were taking our resources. They didn’t belong here. I remember hearing it all and, at that young age, feeling those emotions. 

One of those Laotians became one of my very best friends as time went on. I was there the day her mom and sister were killed in an auto accident our senior year in high school, and I held her hand as we took her to the school office. Her being my friend opened my eyes to a whole world out there, and the members of her family, many college graduates and business owners now, are truly proud and hard working Americans. They demonstrate the American Dream in so many ways. Their father, now in his 80s, still fishes with his sons, eats at his daughter’s restaurant, and visits with his grandchildren. Of all things in my school experience, their being a high part of it opened my eyes to their experiences and their bravery. 

For the sake of our country and the world, immigration cannot just end. I am 1/8 Native American, more than a lot of other people I know. My Great Grandmother was Native American.  The other 7/8 of me is mostly European. I am an immigrant. Most of us are. For this, I am thankful. 

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