I Hesitate To Say Anything….

But…

Somebody I know is on vacation, or holiday, as my European friends may say.

During their holiday they stay at a hostel.

While at the hostel they meet a wide variety of people.

Some of these people were  not from where my friends live  in America, and others were not from  America.  Which for these people is kind of exciting.   It’s always fascinating to have time to sit and talk with people from other states, countries, religions and beliefs.   Usually if given time I think we all find that common ground to appreciate one another’s differences.

Here’s what I hesitate to share.

Some of the people not from this country were bragging about how easy it was to get a work visa to enter America.  And then spend the entire time hiking and traveling.   Not working.  That’s not an assumption.  It’s what they shared of themselves.

Don’t get me wrong.   Please.

I think it is fantastic that we all like to have adventure, explore new places and meet new people.

But what upset me is the attitude that was represented.   We fooled the American government.  We do whatever we want.  We don’t respect you.

This isn’t about any one culture.  Or even about just those particular hikers.

It’s about us as people.

If I go to another country, and I have, I obey their laws.  I am prepared before I go there to give them the information they request of me while I am in their country.   And whatever I tell them I am doing….I am doing.  Isn’t that what we should do?

If I can’t go some place I really want to go, then I can’t go.

With all of the horrible things that are happening in many countries, not just ‘ours’, why would someone come in to a country and brag about something like this?  How many horrible acts have occurred across the globe by people sneaking (for lack of a better word) in to another country and inflicting harm on that country and their people.  And why wouldn’t those who hear you talking like this not get upset?

I know that this has the potential to upset or cause disagreement with some.   I know some will believe Americans are “just as” guilty of this very thing.

That’s the point.

We wonder why there is such distrust in our worlds.  Distrust between peoples and cultures.  I believe there are many levels of blame to toss out there.   But as individuals we have as much responsibility as our governments to represent our country well and respect countries we travel to.

If you sit down next to me and brag about breaking laws to travel freely about my country….you instill distrust.   And that may lead to fear.  And that is your fault.

40 thoughts on “I Hesitate To Say Anything….

  1. What I was thinking about as I read was a story someone told me, because I had difficulty understanding or noticing past myself. (i think i didn’t communicate that last phrase well, but I thought on it for a pause and nothing better presented itself)

    The example to show me and maybe to teach me involved an elderly and very suddenly ill neighbor. One person would stop in the car, open a window and yell out to see if the ill person in whatever ill-appearing position they presented. Another would go finish a task telling themselves they would drive round again and take some action should the ‘ill’ person still be there. I would go over help the person, call ambulance, go to hospital if wanted, sit, get pharmacy, and take and provide food.

    I thought it was awful those who would NOT do as I did. I looked for bad parenting. I looked at a diminished society. I could not see, that there are really differences that might not have to do with a defect in character. I have to use could and might, because I still think that it does, though if I begin to get angry or upset I revisit the lesson that people see and take action or not, differently.

    I am working with my kiddos Asperger’s and NVLD, how to deal with stereotypes and generalities and yet not be racist or decide someone is. It may be true that groups outside of “US” laugh and joke and disrespect. It is also an individual choice or make-up of character that probably ends up being the end and major influence on such decisions. I still find it very difficult if enough direct individual experiences DO end up reinforcing or creating a stereotype. I do not have the ultimate answer.

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    • My apologies, I don’t mean to address this as a stereotype issue. But an individual issue. I only hold those men responsible for what they say and do. They had no qualms sitting with a group of people they did not know, and brag about being here under a work visa, and it was so easy to get, and they have no intention of working and are roaming about. Not that roaming about isn’t acceptable, it’s that it all seems dishonest. We all have that personal responsibility to adhere to, or not.

      When we as individuals make excuses for breaking laws….we create our own problems. I dont mean to make a huge jump from them sitting around a dinner table bragging to societal issues. But….it just provoked feelings of disappointment in me. And yes….concern.

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  2. “Was it my daughter?, I’ll kill her she told me she was gone there to work!”. (joke) but it did sort of come to my mind, but she assures me she is working! I wouldn’t put anything past us Irish, we are not bad people but we are very bad with rules. Although most like my daughter do work very hard over there when they get the chance.

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  3. When I graduated High School, I had friends that travelled to Europe. They invited me along and I declined because they planned to travel and fnd work playing music. That is fine the problem is they did not plan to do the proper paper work to legally earn the money. It bothered me, one a performing arts permit is one of the easiest things to get and two it just felt dishonest. For me it just doesn’t work, but if others do it I suppose that’s them taking the risk.
    In life my Dad taught me that short cuts and bending rules, leads to failure. I know looking at politics and athletes like Lance Armstrong, it can be argued he and now I am wrong. But in the end look at Lance, even if not caught he knew he cheated.
    As I am about to enter my second year as a D1 college athlete, I can say, hard work and playing by the rules pays off. Mostly, in my heart I know what I’ve accomplished and where I am in life is the result of hard work, blessings and a little luck. This allows me to look people in the eye and it’s nice to have nothing to hide.

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    • You said this so well. And it’s what I was getting at. We are responsible for our decisions. And the consequences. If you tell someone you are being dishonest and “cheating” why would anyone you are telling this to…trust you?

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      • I agree, and would struggle trusting anyone in that situation. It may not be accurate but I was raised to believe if someone will lie or cheat anyone, they will lie and cheat you as well if situation benefits them.

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  4. I don’t know. I can totally TOTALLY see your point of view, but I’m with Tric in that a lot of us Europeans see rules more as ‘guidelines’ “If the system (whatever it is, and whoever’s it is) is such that the rules do not get enforced or checked up on, then just how important ARE those rules?!” is a mindset that is quite common here I would guess.

    I think it might also make a difference that (in the UK certainly) we’ve lived with terrorism on our home soil for a very long time, so we have learned to not distrust everyone.

    But I understand your point of view, too.

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    • Thank you Not Quite 40. I don’t think we, I guess I should only speak for myself, I mistrust everyone immediately. I gravitate towards learning more about others so it’s not a matter of mistrusting someone I don’t know. I think I really meant this as a very personal responsibility issue. These men sat with total strangers and scoffed at what they were doing here.

      I get what you mean, why have the rules….if they won’t be enforced.

      But they are there for a reason. And after having such horrible things happen here, and these men say these things….seemed kind of …. I don’t know…. not wise on their part. Or respectful. Or….something.

      Thanks for the points, they are taken and being pondered. 🙂

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  5. I tend to follow the rules (I heard it has something to do with Oldest Child Syndrome, if one believes in birth order theory), so I understand your point of view completely. I sometimes envy those, though, who are a little looser with the rules. It’s a relaxation I can’t seem to achieve. I suspect that’s because whenever I tried to get away with something, I always got caught. Lesson learned. 😀

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    • I think I understand that theory. And maybe I am a wee bit too up tight…. I am a rule follower to the best of my ability. I suppose I can’t say “always”. So I perhaps I shouldn’t be pointing fingers….. I dunno. Something about this just bothered me.

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  6. Our word creates realities. One of my all time favorite books, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, gets into this in a way that I love. The first agreement is be impeccable with your word. Anyone who thinks that words don’t have energy and impact connected with them, is missing a big part of the equation. You’ve made some excellent and important points. I can’t say I never lie, or tell little fibs, I’d be lying, but I sure as hell want to be inside as I am outside as closely and responsibly as I can. Thanks.

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  7. I agree with your principles but I do have some conflicting views.

    Is your issue with what they were doing or the fact they were bragging about it? By the tone of your post it seems to be leaning towards the latter.

    Human nature will (more often than not) gravitate towards taking the easy option. Unfortunate but true. If the lack of law enforcement makes getting a working Visa the easier option then that’s what’s going to happen.
    This is why we elect governments. To make our laws and enforce them. If they fail to do that and leave loopholes then the world being as it is, those loopholes will be exploited.

    I know I would be in the wrong but that’s exactly what I would do. I could live with myself. I don’t think it makes me a bad person, just opportunistic.

    Victimless crimes like manipulating visa requirements will always happen. If we want to argue the point that the crime is not victimless when it facilitates terrorism then we need to focus our attention on the governing bodies, not your average tourist.

    I would not brag about my actions but I would not lose sleep either.

    I thought I might as well be honest with my comment, I know you would rather it that way.

    Steven

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    • 🙂 YOu know I appreciate your honesty.

      Steven I don’t even really know if I can say for sure what bothers me the most. I am, as you thought, leaning towards the bragging about it being the most upsetting. There seems to be something very disturbing to me about bragging about this. Maybe it’s the terrorism aspect, I am certain that has something to do with the uncomfortableness of this. I guess if I had guarantees that the only ones doing “this” were opportunistic adventure seekers hoping to see as much as they can of the world, I’d be okay. But we don’t have guarantees which is why we have laws. Which should be enforced if they are there to protect us.

      I guess I also just go back to the personal responsibility. Whether we agree with a law or not….shouldn’t we follow it and do the work to change it? And/or….if you break a law and you don’t get caught does it matter ? (My answer to that one is yes.)

      Thank you for being honest. I do appreciate that. I like the different answers and considerations.

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  8. Colleen- this is so true! I have to fight stereotypes!!! If one person or group of people says or does bad stuff- it is easy for me to think the entire race is like that! I have to fight it. (I hope they are not all like that!)

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    • I am guilty of stereotypes. I know I have caught myself. But in this situation I have no idea where they are from. I did not ask. I did not want to know. So if I am stereotyping then I don’t know who it is I am stereotyping! 🙂

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  9. I’m no expert,buy I would guess the number of work visas are limited. If that is true did this person keep someone else from having the chance to come here and actually work?

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      • The difficulty one encounters in getting a “work” visa varies by country. For instance, it is EXTREMELY difficult for a Japanese citizen to get a work visa. But the problem occurs with student visas. Once they arrive, the government – due to LAWYERS – finds it very difficult to track them (unlike Japan). One case in point: my ex had a lady friend who just didn’t go back to Japan; she wasn’t even attending school in any substance. She hadn’t filed tax returns. She is now back in Japan. How? She was caught on a Greyhound bus in Texas with an amount of illegal drugs.

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        • Hhhmmmmm well, that doesn’t say anything to support making the visas easier to get! My oh my. I don’t know a whole lot about visas. It’s the bragging about the whole situation, I think, that got me thinking about it all….

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  10. The system is broken–and I don’t know how to fix it. But it’s frustrating. I also hesitate to say more because I have a bottomless pit of gripes in this area. I no longer even know what the “rules” are, because they are applied differently for what I’ve begun to believe are unspoken agendas. As a country we are so inconsistent–we have virtually open borders without the checks other countries employ, but we track information through telecommunication systems? Seems like we might start with some consistency in making sure that visitors are here for their stated purpose. Oh dear…and I wasn’t going to say more. You hit my hot button, Colleen. LOL! As a personal aside, my niece married a French citizen and he had a terrible time staying in the country before the were married. And he WAS a student at one point. If asked to follow “rules” I like it when they are consistently applied…dream on?

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  11. Eloquent post about a polarizing topic, well done! I agree that the system is broken in many ways and that it’s too easy for certain people to take advantage of it. Although we can blame and hurl names and criticize we should utilize these emotions to find a solution to this issue, which hopefully will arise out of the government or through some form of political participation.

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