This from the grandson of European immigrants (my parents) who came to America in search of a better life:
[7:39:15 AM] Aleks: im really happy here. im not the slightest bit home sick or burnt out or anything, its really strange. i love it here so much right now and the ease in which i assimilate around europe i still just want to stay.
And that grandfather’s response when I told him how much Aleks likes living in Prague:
I'm so glad he feels the way he does. Encourage it. He's lapping up the whole newness of things. Prague was at the crossroads of Europe centuries before Columbus was born, he's feeling that in his bones, and it's too exciting to feel homesick. So great that he's even learning the language. I have the feeling this trip will be very instrumental in the direction his life will take. Try not to talk him into being homesick just to please you.
What Aleks needs is fall in love with a girl who keeps him in Europe for a while. (Just kidding!!)
My parents immigrated to America from Germany in 1953. At that time America had such promise and Germany was reeling from a lost war and lost identity. Because of their bold choice to leave everything they knew behind, their children were raised in prosperous country during a time when opportunities were endless and hope and optimism permeated absolutely everyone and everything. (Hell, we grew up in Berkeley in the 60’s, so hope and optimism lived in our bones!)
But things are different in America now. Instead of the land of opportunity, we live in what seems to be the land of dashed dreams and gridlocked politics. Without getting all political on you, I’ll just say that I am appalled that it took us so long to pass legislation that takes care of ALL Americans and I’m floored that anyone (anyone!) would vote against a bill that gives every Americans what seems to me to be a simple and fundamental right: health care. We’ve become greedy and egotistical and grouchy and I think that if we continue down this road (in spite of having a great president who wants to bring about positive change for all but is constantly road-blocked for the sole sake of road-blocking), the glory years for America will be very, very short-lived in historical terms, barely half a century.
So when Aleks talks of returning to his roots in Europe, he tugs hard on my heart strings because I’d be so sad if he moved so far away -- but at the same time I know that he must feel some of the same feelings that my dad felt in 1953 – the country of my birth is confused and weak; maybe there’s a better future for me somewhere else…
Call me unpatriotic (though you’d be wrong), but quite honestly if I were twenty right now, I might very well be thinking the exact same thing.