Back in America

I have been in the USA for a few months now, and yet haven’t written a blog :-/ so time for me to do a bit of catch up.  I still have a few blogs to write on places I visited in Europe, yep I promise to write them. But for now, let me share my walk here.

I am staying in a small town (pop below 500 people…hahaha I DID tell you it was small) in Washington State (NorthWest America). Life in the NorthWest is different to the rest of the USA, or so I am told. It is the most Atheist part of the USA, and so I shouldn’t have ben surprised that most churches I have visited were not that full. Yet, it still surprises me that signs about God and Jesus are on the road side (you don’t see that in my home countries of UK and Australia) but even here it is only permitted if the sign is on private land. I had always been under the allusion that America was so Christian (as a lot of my friends thought also), so you can understand my shock and sadness to see that in fact it looks like America has lost it’s first love…God is on the sidelines here, no longer central to American’s life. It seems that fast food and sport has become their central interest (and thus their god). God has been reassigned to the basement, with last years Christmas gifts and other unwanted and forgotten things. What happened to this country? This place that use to love God so much? Yes, the politicians still talk about God and use his name in their speeches…like a password to get elected, but yet the churches aren’t full, people aren’t seeking God and even their Supreme court has approved same sex marriage. 

I have gone through the period, in a new country, of seeing through rose coloured glasses, then the culture shock (more on that later) then reality…and so I ask myself ‘what happened here?’ And is this just a symptom of the loss of faith we are seeing in many western cultures?

Advertisements

Goettingen

It’s been a while since i wrote and I have a lot to tell you about 🙂

I have stayed mainly in Goettingen but taken some time out to visit The Netherlands (more on that in the next post). At the moment i am heading to Rothenberg ob der Taura.  But before i jump to that, let me tell you a bit more about Goettingen.
Goettingen was one of the towns that was protected from bombing in World War 2 (there was an arrangwment netwwen Germany and UK to not bomb each others university towns). So, because of this, Goettingen still has many of it’s old buildings.  If you go into the town centre you will see a lot of these old buildings dating from 14th century.  Most have dates on so that you know when they were built…handy if you don’t know your architecture lol.  The other thing to note is that a lot of streets and buildings have names on them of famous scientists.  Now, that shouldn’t be a surprise because Goettingen is the town for science.  Over 40 Nobel Prize winners have come from here.  
   

     

  
In the town, next to the Town hall there is a statue of a young girl herding geese.  This has become a well known statue because of the many PhD students who kiss her after getting their PhD (and nope don’t think about the multiple germs possibly on her lol).
  


Safety while travelling alone: being followed

Today I was followed by a man, when I walked from the city centre to Montmartre, in broad daylight. Though this was disconcerting, I automatically slipped into ‘alert’ mode.  For those that I have taught self defence to, what I am about to say will just be a reminder.  When out walking, don’t walk with your ear buds in (it means you can’t hear what or who is approaching you), keep to busy areas, be aware of your surroundings, if followed either slow down and look in a shop window (to let them pass), or try to outwalk the person or run. Head to a shop or busy restaurant/coffee shop and above all try to keep calm.  I did all these things; I tried to outwalk him, then slowed down to let him overtake me (but after overtaking he would slow down until I had passed him), I crossed the road and he followed (did this numerous times) I also kept a ‘proximity awareness’ of where he was at all times (eventually he was walking so close to me I could hear his breathing). At this stage I headed to a supermarket where they have security guards (here in Paris). My plan was to approach the security guards, if he followed me into the shop, and tell them about him. Fortunately for him (after following me for 25mins) he wasnt game to enter the shop and literally disappeared.  Before leaving the shop I looked around and checked he couldnt be seen before heading back to the studio. 

Some additional advice: if he produces a weapon, scream and run towards people, and don’t stop screaming. If he threatens to shoot you, still run, it’s harder to hit a moving object and if you don’t know him then he is less likely to start shooting at you but instead will head off for an easier target. If he grabs you then fight, scratch, kick and continue to scream. Try to get away to a busy area, shop/home etc and seek help.  And ultimately my advice is: learn self defence…it empowers you, helps to protect yourself and may one day save your life.