becoming an alien visitor to new worlds is a matter of learning acceptance–if one is to do more than the prescribed touristy activity calculated for maximum drainage of your pocketbook. acceptance of standards of living and ways of perceiving people that are outside of the box of what you are accustomed to. eventually, the habits and customs of your history dissipate into the constant adaptation that is required to meet the demands of an unknown and spontaneous universe. anything can and will happen, for there are no ways of sustaining reductive expectations in the face of what you cannot prepare for. yes, in the heartland of America, it is easy to pigeon-hole the people into Wal-Mart herds of banality, to hold up their strip-malled, colon-clogging comfort food overeating ways as representative of everything which is wrong and thus, to be immediately dismissed. but when you are in the midst of that which you would from a distance define, you find yourself talking and relating to people–no matter their appearance–as what they truly are–sentient and intelligent beings struggling to live and find their own winding paths to the light. it no longer becomes a matter of relating to people based on things such as political views and consumerist habits–it becomes a matter of relating to people based on how they actually live, and taking into account the whole context and environment of their situation, including all the problems so evident on the surface. this is not to say that all criticism must be suspended–rather, to say that one has to take into account how a people view themselves and their world. for if someone can find beauty and ways of existence in a world that i would perish in, than i want to try to understand what it is that they find in it that allows them to sustain themselves, and i want to try to relate to them based on how they relate to each other. there is indeed a lot of shit out here that is pretty fucked up. but i haven’t found anything here that is fucked up in a way that isn’t just as fucked up in a different way where i’m from. and so i am discovering new perspectives on myself and what i have become accustomed to, as well. for what we often use as judgment of other people are things which those people take for granted, and do not even think about, so ingrained in their culture it is. so really, learning my way to an understanding of other people is a way of learning my way to an understanding of myself.