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Living Outside of America (BARF ALERT)
The Naive Optimist ^ | July 1, 2012 | Ryan Carson

Posted on 07/01/2012 5:17:33 PM PDT by van_erwin

I was born in Colorado in 1977 and lived there until I was 21. I went to a private Christian school from age 5-18 and then studied Computer Science at Colorado State University.

I graduated at the height of the .com Bubble in 2000 and could’ve gotten a job at any tech company in the USA. I was offered ridiculous salaries with signing bonuses of luxury cars. Pretty tempting.

Something about it all seemed very predictable though. Go to College, get the job, go to work. I had lived in Colorado my entire life and even though I had tried very hard to be open minded, I knew my world view was somehow limited. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. 

I didn’t have a girlfriend or any major ties to Colorado so I decided to do something crazy and move to another country. I felt it would be too overwhelming to go to a new country by myself and also deal with a foreign language, so I narrowed it down to the UK, Australia or New Zealand. I saw the film Notting Hill, liked it, and picked London (not joking).

I used the BUNAC visa and had a recruiter land me a job as a web developer for a firm in Cambridge UK. I bought my ticket, said goodbye to my family (my Mom cried a lot) and hopped on the plane.

I knew exactly two people in the entire UK. I was completely taken out of my comfort zone and I was forced to question everything I believed. I was also forced to make an entirely new set of friends and contacts. It was the hardest and most lonely thing I’ve ever done.

I’m naturally shy so it was hard to make friends - especially as a foreigner. You may think the US and the UK are similar, but you’d be very wrong. They’re completely different culturally.

I’ve now lived outside of the USA for 12 years (35% of my life) and it’s had a profound impact on me. Here are the big areas:

  1. I don’t view the USA as the center of the world. It’s natural to view your way of life as the only way of life. I was no different until I moved to another country. Side note: if your web app requires people to choose a ‘State’ for their address, then you’re in trouble.
  2. I stopped calling myself a Christian. When I lived in Colorado I surrounded myself with like-minded people, which is natural. The trouble with this is that it’s very hard to truly question your beliefs if everyone around you shares them. When I moved to the UK, most people I met didn’t believe in God or Christianity. The UK is largely a non-Christian country. All of the sudden my beliefs where seen to be strange and outdated to most people and I really had to defend them. After several years, my belief in Christianity crumbled under the constant scrutiny. This isn’t meant to be a damning statement towards Christianity or any other faith. I simply couldn’t answer the doubts I had.
  3. I occasionally felt embarrassed of America. This came as a shock because I was an All-American guy: Homecoming King, Varsity basketball player, Student Body President and an Eagle Scout. I somehow believed that everyone in the World loved Americans and our way of life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. A ton of people I met from around the World thought Americans were overweight, materialistic and unintelligent. This was, of course, an unfair generalization. However, it was a reality check for me in regards to how I was perceived as an American. 
  4. I believe America’s time as #1 super-power will come to an end within my lifetime. Unless something major changes, the American focus on consumption will eventually erode our influence around the globe. I believe innovative companies and people have a chance to reverse this though, and I’m rooting for folks like Mr Money MustacheTesla and Beyond Meat.

Living outside of America has fundamentally changed who I am. I feel I am much more well rounded and open-minded than I was before. However, I also feel I’m more jaded and cynical. On balance though, I’m very glad I’ve had a chance to completely remove myself from my comfort zone and challenge everything I believe in.

Until you do this, you can’t be sure what you believe is true or simply convenient.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Religion; Society; Travel
KEYWORDS: antiamerican; embarrassed; moron; tech
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1 posted on 07/01/2012 5:17:41 PM PDT by van_erwin
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To: van_erwin

>>I’m naturally shy so it was hard to make friends <<

More like you are naturally stupid and people avoid you.


2 posted on 07/01/2012 5:28:14 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Guns Walked -- People Died -- Holder Lied -- Obama Golfed (thanks, Secret Agent Man))
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To: van_erwin
I was born in Colorado 30 years before you in a Christian community. I drifted away form God. I was offered a good carrier elsewhere but I stayed in a small town. I have come back to God. This country will come back to God. This country will overthrow the socialist shackles and once again be the greatest nation on earth, In my lifetime!
3 posted on 07/01/2012 5:28:54 PM PDT by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: van_erwin

“I occasionally felt embarrassed of America.”

We elected Obama since you left. The rest of the world has respect for us now. You can be proud of us for the first time in your life.


4 posted on 07/01/2012 5:29:15 PM PDT by running_dog_lackey
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To: van_erwin
"...I was an All-American guy: Homecoming King, Varsity basketball player, Student Body President and an Eagle Scout."

Sure you were.

5 posted on 07/01/2012 5:37:40 PM PDT by SnuffaBolshevik (In a tornado, even turkeys can fly.)
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To: van_erwin

What a moonbat.


6 posted on 07/01/2012 5:41:56 PM PDT by rdl6989 (January 20, 2013 The end of an error.)
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To: van_erwin

“...I was an All-American guy: Homecoming King, Varsity basketball player, Student Body President and an Eagle Scout.”

You forgot doctor, Superman, attorney, Batman, Studly-Dude-of-The-Year, Marksman-Sniper etc etc etc etc.

BS. You’re a loser. Don’t come back.


7 posted on 07/01/2012 5:46:16 PM PDT by carriage_hill (All libs and most dems think that life is just a sponge bath, with a happy ending.)
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To: van_erwin

He was always shy, and found it hard to make friends. And yet, he was Homecoming King.

You know what? He’s a liar. He’s certainly liberal, and might be gay.

STAY THERE. Seriously.


8 posted on 07/01/2012 5:46:36 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: SnuffaBolshevik

His transformation to a total douche nozzle is complete.


9 posted on 07/01/2012 5:47:23 PM PDT by shankbear (If this mandate can stand, what will be next? Forced to buy certain cars, clothes, food?)
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To: van_erwin

I live and work in Australia. Aussies love Americans. No wurries here mate.


10 posted on 07/01/2012 5:47:38 PM PDT by SkyDancer ("Ambition Without Talent Is Sad - Talent Without Ambition Is Worse")
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To: van_erwin
I feel I am much more well rounded and open-minded than I was before.

He became so "open-minded" that his brain fell out.

Hopefully he renounced his American citizenship and will remain somewhere else until the end of his days.

11 posted on 07/01/2012 5:50:43 PM PDT by Col Freeper (FR is a smorgasbord of Conservative thoughts and ideas - dig in and enjoy it to its fullest!)
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To: van_erwin

“You may think the US and the UK are similar”

Uh no. The USA is a free republic and the best country in the world. The UK is a repressive socialist chit hole filled with 7th century muslim refugees.

Just in case you are wondering we don’t miss you.


12 posted on 07/01/2012 5:53:21 PM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: van_erwin
The UK went over to the dark side of socialism long ago, and is currently bending over and taking it from the muslims. Must be a european guilt thing. If they're feeling guilty about the crusades, then they need to get over it, their forefathers were right. Wringing your hands in quiet desperation is the english way. Now where have I heard that line?
13 posted on 07/01/2012 5:54:21 PM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: van_erwin
What a load of garbage.

"I was an All-American guy: Homecoming King, Varsity basketball player, Student Body President and an Eagle Scout" BUT IN THE SAME BREATH "I’m naturally shy so it was hard to make friends "

14 posted on 07/01/2012 5:55:40 PM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: van_erwin

You are quite jaded and cynical. I wouldn’t embrace cynicism, long-term. It is a very impoverished worldview. “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.” Dorothy Sayers

I have lived in other parts of the world and traveled extensively, too. America is the best country in the world. The people are fierce and God-fearing, we work hard, we are can-do, we don’t want the government to nanny us from one end to the other. I wouldn’t trade my country and my fellow citizens for any other place in the world.


15 posted on 07/01/2012 6:03:15 PM PDT by bboop (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? St. Augustine)
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To: van_erwin

I, too, was born in Colorado. I, too, came to question the Christian values I grew up with while at the University in Boulder. I, too, began to see the USA in an entirely new light while living for years in a foreign country. The difference was, I wore a uniform during those years. THe perspective I gained was that, while the USA is corrupt as can be it is FAR, FAR less corrupt than everyplace else. Here, the politicians have to at least make an effort to hide it. Elsewhere they don’t even bother. Learning this made me realize all the things I learned in the ‘50s and ‘60s about our founders and their vision of a country where a man is truly free to say “No King but Jesus” and not expect persecution made me realize that the reason life “works” for Christians is because it is true. He is risen!


16 posted on 07/01/2012 6:08:50 PM PDT by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: van_erwin

I guess we’ll just have to muddle along without you, Ryan. Buh-bye!


17 posted on 07/01/2012 6:12:40 PM PDT by Huskrrrr
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To: van_erwin
I was completely taken out of my comfort zone

You wished to so radically change what you'd been brought up that you chose the next most English-speaking country in the world...?

Fine country, but I'm not fooled about your wussiness.

18 posted on 07/01/2012 6:13:58 PM PDT by gaijin
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To: van_erwin

What a Dork...an open minded, guilt ridden, cynical shy guy with grudge. But some how you forced yourself to fit in by accepting anyones opinion of the US and now has a world view living on and island the size of NY. I believe your homecomming King story about as much as I believe that a halfrican american that does drugs and has poor highschool grades is IVY league material. Stay there putz...


19 posted on 07/01/2012 6:17:34 PM PDT by JohnD9207 (Mitt better grow a pair or this thing will be over soon.)
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To: van_erwin
A ton of people I met from around the World thought Americans were overweight, materialistic and unintelligent. This was, of course, an unfair generalization. However, it was a reality check for me in regards to how I was perceived as an American.

So folks held an unjust prejudice AGAINST America, so HE felt bad being an American? And he dumped Christianity because it made him feel bad that everyone was making fun of him, and he didn't know enough about his faith to defend it?

Sounds like the young man needs to grow a pair!

20 posted on 07/01/2012 6:19:46 PM PDT by SuziQ
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