Telegram from the North Sea

Left Amsterdam aboard Koningsdam and entered a lock for access to North Sea via English Channel. Stop.

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Kids swimming and eating ice cream with cousin. Stop. 

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Sailing north and soon to enter Arctic Circle. Stop.

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Sunset beautiful as are the two rainbows we've seen. Air moderately cold. Soon to Eidfjord. Stop. 

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Tonight formal night on ship. Tuxes abound. Feeling very Titanic. Glad lifeboats updated. Stop. 

Sea kayaking tomorrow. More when next with service. Stop.

And just in time, we're off!

Things got a little nutty yesterday, 

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and then we went to the park, 

 

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and I had a slight nervous breakdown about our festering turd of a "president," but managed to finish packing (loathsome), and now with utter joy and glee and thrill, we are off.  blowing this joint has never sounded quite so great.

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Amsterdam and Norway, here we come!! Y'all,  do you know what? We are seeing U2 in Amsterdam tomorrow night! OMG!

Dear America,

Dear America,

Growing up, I learned that you were exceptional in pretty much every way. You were discovered by righteous white Europeans seeking a place to live openly. They were tired of being oppressed, tired of being unable to practice their religions freely, tired of being under a monarch's thumb. And so they bravely sailed west.

These settlers loved the Indians and were sorry to kill so many of them with illness they brought from their home countries. The ones they massacred so that they could more easily steal the native's land, well, that was for the greater good and all. I mean, they needed the good land to farm and build houses on. And the Europeans thought the native Americans were not as smart, that they were primitive and simple, and so they look a few lessons from them before kicking them away. At some point there was a lovely, communal Thanksgiving with cornucopias and bounty, and everything was jovial and fine after that as long as the red man stayed away on the parcels of land those Europeans so generously gave them.

And wow, then the settlers found cotton and just loved how it grew. But gosh, it was hard to grow and pick. So were sugar cane and tobacco. And so there was a great idea to outsource labor. Slaves! Just the ticket. Slaves can be sold for lots of money and then work for free. Man do the economics sound great. Also, slaves are pretty dispensable, and when you kidnap them en masse and don't really care how many make it from Africa to here, you can just keep on kidnapping and hauling and kidnapping and hauling. Dump the dead, sell the rest. 

See, Africans, like the native Americans, were also considered simple, dumb really. Immoral, barbarous, in desperate need of minding and structure and hard work. They weren't whole people, only partial. Maybe 3/5. The settlers knew best. They always did. And so really, it was an act of loving kindness to give the black animals work, routine, expectations, rules. They were given housing and food too. It was sort of an ideal situation and gosh, America, you thrived. Just grew and thrived like nobody's business.

Meanwhile, women were forced into their rightful places in the home. Why on earth would women need or want to vote, think, or be educated? Their minds weren't sophisticated enough to hold most jobs, and have mercy, there were babies to be had. Keeping them in the home was the best way to honor their maternal abilities, the best way to keep any dormant hysteria at bay. It was a fine celebration of reproductive vessels. The women wanted to be appreciated, right? Boy did you do that, America.

Then some Americans started to think this slavery thing was wrong and also some crazy women wanted to vote. Honest Abe figured out how to get enough folks on board with abolition, and the Confederacy accepted his decision peacefully. All the white slave owners were paid when their slaves were set free because really, they lost a lot of money when their human property was taken. The slaves weren't given a dime or any land or material anything and they sure as heck couldn't vote, but they were free so America and the slaves were even steven. Kumbaya.

Suffragettes worked really hard and no one called them idiots or threatened to kill them. Then women could vote. Kumbaya again. And civil rights and gay rights and women's rights and religious tolerance...sure, people may have had to fight (and some may have died) and argue, but you are America and you are so accepting. Some guy named Jim Crow, who was really bad, was even welcomed here. I mean, the first people came here for freedom so of course they wanted others to have freedom too. That's only right.

Today things are great. America is thriving, just like all that cotton once did. People get along and there is no racism or sexism, and facts are valued to the nth. A man who really isn't good at anything but lying, cheating, stealing, and being mean to people got to be President! He doesn't understand government or math or healthcare or geography! He is ugely NOT elite except that he has a lot of money. He hasn't actually made any of that money but he has it, and America, you do value money. This all goes to show that anything is possible in this great country. 

I think my education was lacking in many ways, because we really are more exceptional than I ever knew. Thanks for being you, America.

Sincerely,

Emily