Sunday, March 21, 2010

One moment

Sharing with someone from another culture can make you see things in a new way. We had Japanese exchange students staying with us this weekend. They were wonderful and we had a great time together -- it's hard to believe that Friday I didn't know either of them.

Today, at the park, watching Julie play in the sand, I tried to explain to them why Matt kept looking at his cell phone. "The health care bill," I began, "they're voting on it today."

"Uh?"

I looked to Matt for help. "In Japan, you have, uh, universal health care, yes? Everyone can get health care, no matter whether you can pay for it or not?"

"Uh, yes?"

"Well, we don't have that here in America. Some people here don't have health insurance, and they can't afford some kinds of medical care."

Gasps. "Ohh! Really?"

"They -- our Congress? -- they are voting on it today. They say, 'yes, health care!' or 'no, no health care!'"

"Everyone? Everyone votes?"

"No, no, Congress. We vote for them, and then they vote for everyone."

"Oh." They look thoughtful. They look over at Matt, who's now following the dog across the park. The conversation drifts, and I think about how big the world can be.