Live free or die

That’s a State motto one could give up their Dutch passport for. Unfortunately I couldn’t divorce myself so I kept my Dutch passport, but how I miss those funny Americans. Beautiful, generous, hospitable, and kind Americans… except for when they are not. Every lecture I give, there is at least one person in the audience asking whether the overly friendly American culture is for real. When there is too much kindness, the Dutch freak out. We are afraid you want something that we don’t want to give. No matter how I try to convince that person, I always fail but then I realized there is one place where you can find a whole lot of unfriendly Americans, the airport. Entering the United States of America as a foreigner is a true test of whether you really want to continue with your vacation plans or turn around and sit on a plane for another 15 hours. Upon departing the airbus, dizzy and aching for fresh air, you have to conquer the longest line ever to enter the country. Doesn’t matter whether you arrive in New York, Miami, Atlanta or Los Angeles, it is the same scenario everywhere. At the end of that tremendous unDisney-like line is where all the unfriendly Americans work. I promise, they do exist. By the time you reach the immigration desk and hand over your passport it feels as if you have to pass some sort of test to which you absolutely don’t have the answers. Convince a total unknown of your sincere desire to rent a camper and travel the State parks. The officer gives you no clue, as to whether you are worthy of entering the country. He or she stares at your passport, stares at you and your first welcome to the US is “What is your purpose for travelling here?”  This is so incredibly unsettling that at this point you start doubting yourself. Indeed, why am I here? Where are the friendly Americans? Where is the marshmallow fluff, where are the lollipops and hotdogs on a stick! Once you leave your fingerprints and have your retina’s scanned, you either get a stamp in your passport or not. I don’t know what happens when you don’t get a stamp but I bet it isn’t a rose garden. In any case, with a stamp you are free to gather your luggage and move to the next line where another unfriendly American makes sure you are not smuggling cheese, sausage or herring. So there, I am so happy that I can now tell people indeed there are unfriendly Americans. Although I bet that when those immigration officers invite you over for a barbeque and don’t have to decide whether you form any kind of threat, they are the friendliest people you will ever meet. To be able to live free, something has got to die. At the airport that means kindness.

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2 Responses

  • John Medlin // // Reply

    Miss you

  • Liny Jacobs // // Reply

    Prima stukje ik moet er echter bij vermelden dat wij de laatste keer toen we in San Diego aankwamen allervriendelijkst werden behandeld door de douane. Inderdaad een lange rij maar wij mochten uitstappen en door middels van het nieuwste apparaat gescand

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