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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

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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To: van_erwin

So the guy is a cameleon. He does not have an inner core, idenity and truth. He becomes whatever he is surrounded by. He’s the perfect citizen of the world.

It is not a surprise that someone with no core would latch onto the superiority complex offered in Europe over America. America’s the only country that a European is permitted to claim superiority over without being named a dirty racist.

Being nobody with no core can’t be great for the self esteem. You can not have esteem for yourself when you have no self. So wrapping his empty vessel around Europe is his chance to pretend he’s a superior atheist creature. What a strange and stunted character. Bless his heart.


21 posted on 07/01/2012 6:41:14 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: SnuffaBolshevik

......was also a brain surgeon/rocket scientist.


22 posted on 07/01/2012 6:44:12 PM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (The First Bystander must be removed!)
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To: van_erwin

Maybe this guy can come back after Obama’s second term. By that time, he’ll seem like a throwback to an earlier, simpler way of seeing life.


23 posted on 07/01/2012 6:59:40 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: bboop

Totally agree with you. I have lived outside the US most of my adult life. I have lived in Thailand for twenty years with three years in Cambodia, three years in China and short time throughout Asia. I am still very much an American and know for a fact that the US is the most exceptional country in the history of mankind.

In 2005, we rented a car and two Chinese drivers and traveled the Silk Road from Xian to Kashgar and back. As we approached Xinjiang Province (80% Muslim population) our drivers became worried and told me to tell everyone I was from Canada. I informed them that I was an American who was allergic to maple leaves. As it turned out, the Sufi Muslims in Xinjiang were excited and happy to meet and greet this American. It is not unusual for Chinese to tell me that they love and respect the freedoms we have in America. I am proud to be an American and one day will retire there. I am just having too much excitement visiting the world’s places and people.


24 posted on 07/01/2012 7:05:24 PM PDT by inthaihill (Living in an interesting paradise - Thailand!)
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To: van_erwin

In reply to your silly statements:

friends and contacts. It was the hardest and most lonely thing I’ve ever done. I can understand why you have fewer friends than you might expect.

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. Actually, shyness is not the problem for your lack of friends.

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.

Nor do most Americans. That view is one picked up by experiencing interactions with people in other countries and picked up by the easily influenced.

2) I stopped calling myself a Christian.

What you are really saying is that you are no longer a Christian (if you ever were). It means that you have given up on all of the Christian values. So be it, you are free to choose. Too bad that the decision is not always available in other Countries.

3) I occasionally felt embarrassed of America.

This may come as a shock to you also, because I’m also embarrassed by America’s actions. Usually it is because of America’s non-action, protecting those unable to protect themselves (Seria, Africa, etc.), feeding the hungry (enough), fixing all of the universal problems such as heart disease. The real problem is that even though we do almost all of this, is just does not seem enough.

4) I believe America’s time as #1 super-power will come to an end within my lifetime.

Just wow on this one...heh. I guess you would want us to lower our lifestyle to match - say Africa? Maybe you should be focising on what we can do to raise the lifestyles of others rather than condemning our own lifestyle. Sounds like an unfortunate view to me - ass backwards.

Yes like most countries America is doomed to become a second rate power eventually. The idea that you would hope for that is really disturbing.

You have written a fine resume for future job prospects. I wish you a very lot of help in getting work...heh.


25 posted on 07/01/2012 7:12:11 PM PDT by Deagle (nOT Get a)
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To: van_erwin

Reading his “big four areas” makes me believe that he’s probably a homosexual. I doubt very much he left America so he could stop “calling” himself a Christian. That’s just moronic.


26 posted on 07/01/2012 7:46:05 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Dude! Where's my Constitution?!)
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To: van_erwin
I find it amusing that many lib Americans think that everyone not American has access to secret information about how the world works hidden from regular Americans but privy to non-Americans. Another trip to Britain and conversations with my in-laws reinforces my belief that many non-Americans are just as misinformed or uninformed about world events as those darn ignorant Yanks.

For instance, one of my Brit in-laws told me she had been informed that the American media was keeping news about deaths of military personnel in Afghanistan hidden from the American public. I told her every time a soldier from my area is killed, it's usually front page news in the local rag. Other military deaths are usually national news. One of my Brit in-laws nevers reads the newspaper, any books, or surfs the internet. Previous encounters with in-laws involved one who read Michael Moore's account of the 2000 prez election and swallowed it whole. So ignorance is prevalent on both sides of the ocean.

27 posted on 07/01/2012 8:46:36 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: Georgia Girl 2
"repressive socialist ....hole"

It's not that, but my wife, who grew up in Britain, much prefers her adopted country the U.S.A. I asked my wife if she feels nostagia when visiting Britain and her hometown. She said she feels like a foreigner in Britain now. My own view of Britain is that it's way too small for me. Have had a good time every time I've visited, but not a lot of space to stretch and it's costlier to live there. More rules than here as well.

28 posted on 07/01/2012 8:54:11 PM PDT by driftless2
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To: van_erwin
“I stopped calling myself a Christian...”

-You’ve never studied the book of Daniel.

“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.”

- Again, you've never studied the book of Daniel. Incidentally, the reason you could not defend Christianity is most likely that you were ignorant of the Bible and lacked understanding. For further information, refer to Jesus’ parable of the Sower.

“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.”

-You were never a Christian. The Holy Spirit never dwelt within you.

29 posted on 07/01/2012 9:06:17 PM PDT by Rides_A_Red_Horse (Rev 6: 3-4)
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To: driftless2

So very true. Every foreigner I’ve had occasion to argue with on the internet seems to think the BBC, Guardian, et al, are telling them the truth about world affairs. They assume that I get my news from Fox and Fox only (HA!) and that we are especially fools to be so patriotic. Snort!


30 posted on 07/01/2012 9:13:41 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: van_erwin

He didn’t really move outside of his comfort zone that much, did he?

Compared to the people who immigrated to the US from other contries or left the eastern states to settle the western states in Texas, California, Oregon, etc. etc., he’s a cake-eater.


31 posted on 07/01/2012 10:05:21 PM PDT by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: Georgia Girl 2
The UK is a repressive socialist chit hole filled with 7th century muslim refugees.

I spent 4 years from 1960-64 in the UK. While your description of it is apropos today it was starkly different in the time I was living there.

I was i my late teens and it was obvious the older folks who had lived through the war loved and respected us those our own age resented us because we had ample cash (relative to what they had), the chicks loved us and many of us even had our own cars and paid just 1/3 what they did for gasoline.

It is these same young people of the 1960's who now are running that country, and they still despise us. They have been brainwashed by their education system like our kids have been here. Had a rather harsh debate with an individual who denied America was instrumental in saving Britain in WW2. She never heard of the Lend Lease Program and argued Germany and Japan would have been defeated even had we not entered the war. She actually believed this.

32 posted on 07/02/2012 1:35:50 AM PDT by scram2
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To: van_erwin

Has he given up his U.S. passport?


33 posted on 07/02/2012 2:38:31 AM PDT by nuconvert ( Khomeini promised change too // Hail, Chairman O)
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To: Amberdawn

More than twenty years ago I realized many foreigners had weird views about what happened in the U.S. I had a girl friend (actually a fiancee..since dissolved...thank God) who had a sister who lived in Germany and who had married a German doctor. Her sister was coming over to Wisconsin to visit with her two children. She made plans to rent a car in Milwaukee and drive to La Crosse, where we lived, a distance of about two hundred miles. Her German husband sternly warned her about driving across the state because countless Americans were shot to death on the highways every day. My ex-fiancee told me this, and after I had got done laughing (it took a while), I told her to tell her sister that her husband, the German doctor, was an ignoramus. I doubt she told her sister those words, but ever since I’ve looked at statements about how much foreigners know about what goes on inside the U.S. with much skepticism.


34 posted on 07/02/2012 4:47:34 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: van_erwin

How sad the infidel believes Christianity is outdated.I was born in Colorado in 1950.I enlisted in the US Army in June 1969 and served as an Army Medic until discharged Jan.1977.
Like too many Americans who call themselves Christian —I didn’t know what the Bible actually says. But I thank God my
Christian faith is not dependent upon what the world thinks of Christianity. IMO one reason for the American Independence was that the Brits had abandoned Christianity -the king No longer
defended the Faith but thought he was a Law unto himself. Read the Declaration of Independence. Like Ben Franklin said in June 1787 At the beginning of the Contest with the Brits”we had daily prayer in this very room for the Divine protection those prayers,Sir, were heard and they were graciously answered.....” Like a great American named Ronald Reagan said “IF America ever stops being one nation under God we will be a nation gone under.” How sad that someone born in Colorful Colorado was NEVER an American.That his views of Christianity seem little different than those of the pagan (who also is not an American) residing in our White House.


35 posted on 07/02/2012 5:15:04 AM PDT by StonyBurk (ring)
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