Proud to be an American?

Today was a special day. Today America didn’t fail me (as it has been known to do with its posturing political debates, increasing poverty, warmongering, and decreased valuing of education, among other gripes). Today, my Chinese father (or ‘Baba’ as I lovingly call him) received his first US visa to travel to my wedding next month.

Although I arrived in the Chinese capital late last night from Los Angeles, we woke up early to join the long lines outside the US Embassy and I thought: all these people WANT to go to America. America still means something. Despite the failing economy, the dearth of educational funding, and the growing poverty, the ideals of the United States still are attractive to so many in the world. While I’m generally a staunch anti-nationalist (for reasons that would require a much longer blog post), I was uplifted by my Baba’s successful visa application and the smiles on the faces of all those others who will join him in the journey across the Pacific. Although they will all likely return to China, I hope that their journeys will be eye opening, inspiring, and challenging — just as my life in China always is.

A photo from my first visit to China in 1996. Obviously I'm the teenaged white girl in the center - my Chinese 'Baba' is on the upper left.

On that note, I leave you with a brilliant poem and reminder from Han Shan (translated by Red Pine) as well as his lively image – his words are always useful for reminding us of the importance of living well (for more on what I believe ‘living well’ means, see my post entitled ‘Li-Ming’s Lesson’).

Here’s A Message for the Faithful

Here’s a message for the faithful
what is it that you cherish
to find the Way to see your nature
your nature is naturally so
what Heaven bestows is perfect
looking for proof leads you astray
leaving the trunk to search among the twigs
all you get is stupid

Han Shan enjoying life

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About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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