Saturday, March 19, 2011

Today's fortune: March 19, 2011

Today's fortune: You will step on the soil of many countries in your lifetime.

The number of countries I've visited can be counted on one hand, even if that hand were missing three fingers.

I live in the United States. And I've been to Canada. Once. On a family vacation.

During that trip, which was probably 15 years ago, we spent about eight hours visiting our Neighbors to the North. We didn't care for the food. The McDonald's along the road (yes, we were visiting a foreign country and we ate at McDonald's) did not sell biscuits for breakfast, and the diner where we ate dinner served their beverages without ice.

Two memorable moments from the Canadian excursion exist. First, the Canadian border patrol agent believed my beard-faced father was smuggling guns or drugs or both, and we were made to pull over at the border station for nearly an hour while the agent searched our conversion van for contraband. Second, we visited the International Peace Garden, and my brother and I played catch across the US-Canada border.

That was the only time I ever stepped off of U.S. soil.

Or so I remembered. But I was wrong.

Today, we ate lunch with my parents and my brother and his wife. After discussing the fortune, my sister-in-law Sarah asked, "Matt, when you were in D.C., did you visit any embassies?"
Well now, by god, I did.

During the summer of 2000, I spent two months in the nation's capital for an internship with the U.S. Department of Education. The internship was through my college honor society, and 19 students from across the country took part in internships while living together in dorms at The George Washington University (Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Hall, to be specific).

On the weekends, we would take group outings, arranged by the honor society. Once we visited the White House. Once we took a nighttime tour of the D.C. monuments. Once we walked through the Newseum.

And once, we snacked on tea and crumpets at the British Embassy.

Although opinions across the Internet differ, there's a common perception that the land within the boundaries of foreign embassies is considered foreign soil. If you buy into that logic, as I'm choosing to do here, then by golly, I've visited England!

Pictured: England.
You could argue that this is a moot point. Today's fortune says, "You will step on the soil of many countries in your lifetime." Will. Future tense. This fortune is indicating I will visit foreign countries in the future.

I hope it's right. My ol' pappy, especially after being assailed by the Canadian border patrol, often says "There's too much to see in this country" when asked about international travel. And I think he has a point. But Jamie and I also believe it's important to expose ourselves to other cultures. That's the only way we'll grow as global citizens.

Once the household budget is stocked up enough to support international travel - watch out, world. Here come the Kelseys.