It’s a perfect, California Beach day — and although we are driving down Highway 1, commonly known as PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), overlooking a very inviting beach, we are on our way to a job in the city. I’m acting as scribe for my husband, Richard, who is driving (lucky for us, reading or typing while driving has never been a problem for me). It’s another good, but crazy day, just trying to hold down all the bases, including getting day 276 posted before day’s end.
As the Stepford-esque woman’s voice on the GPS gives us directions to our destination, I have carefully typed in the digital transcripts of Richard’s interview with our new friend, Daniel. Daniel, a twenty-year-old film student from Germany has been in the U.S. since September. His thoughts are welcomed because they are so fresh from Europe and give us a perspective that is as close as we can get to Germany for the time being.
Richard asks Daniel what advice he would like to share.
“I would tell everybody to be thankful everyday and see the opportunities in life because if you are thankful then you can’t be angry or you can’t be fearful. If you see what your are gifted (with), like the gifts you have, (you can) always look at the positive side of things — because no matter what bad things happen in life you can always choose where to focus, the good things you have or the bad things that happen to you. The outside world does have some control over you, but you always have control over yourself, like how that affects you. That is something I’m learning… and I’m really trying to apply every day.”
What do you see for the future?
“I’m pretty optimistic about the future. Hopefully the world is going to become more united. For example, the European Union has lots of problems and that’s really scary right now. Hopefully, in the future, the European Union will become the Untied States of Europe; if they reassemble and come together stronger, like with a centralized parliament, that would strengthen the whole union.
“It’s really important for people to go to other countries and see what other people are like because if people stay always in one country they have these stereotypes… they make assumptions and that’s really dangerous. It’s really important that, as much as possible, we visit other countries and learn something about other people… see themselves and their country in another view. We need more global understanding.”
Richard asks Daniel if his feelings are typical of his peers back home.
“Yes. Generally most of the young people are very optimistic about the future, because now we have so much knowledge and there are so many opportunities, everybody has some dream about it, and it seems really significant to achieve. I would say most of my colleagues in Germany are pretty optimistic.”
By this point, Richard is very curious — things in Germany sound pretty good, so he has to ask: “Why did you come to the U.S. to study, and what do you think about this whole “global community” idea?”
“I dreamed about America since I was in 5th grade… and what I would see on television – like how New York or Los Angeles were portrayed. It was like this big dream, this magical land where I wanted to go. Now that I’m here I see it in a different view, but I still like it. You see that there are some troubles and some problems what are completely different from the movies, but still, it’s a very nice view.
“The American mentality is very nice. Just “Do It,” like Nike says! Which is really awesome if you think about it.
“Some of the people are very hectic and their lifestyle can be really funny. I don’t mind it. Here in Los Angeles it’s crazy — they are really funny and open-minded. It’s crazy, all diverse. For example, on Friday I saw a gay couple walking down the street, which still blows my mind because in Germany it’s not all that diverse… like it is here in Los Angeles. Los Angeles, probably because it’s such a big city, is probably most different than the whole United States. It is nice because Los Angeles has a nice hope about it for society, and that is pretty interesting. It gives you a broader understanding and keeps your mind more open – interesting because you see so many people, and they still can all be friends and work together and live together.”
Thank you Daniel, for sharing your thoughts. May we all hope for an optimistic future if we do as you say, “Unleash the power within!”