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So, my week has been improving, thanks for asking.  Right now, I’m sitting in a hotel room, while the temperature outside was 74 degrees an hour ago when I arrived.

On the way to the hotel for a work meeting, I hopped a taxi.  The driver was a nice guy named Gujira.  He’s from Somolia.  He apologized when he picked me up, because he was talking to his brother on the phone – in Somolia.

Now, I’m certainly no international news guru, but I do know that Somolia has had more than its fair share of turmoil of late.  I inquired about the state of his family back there.  He said his mother (now 85) and brothers lived in the same family home and ran a farm, 350 miles away from any major city.  They lived a good life, apparently–with cattle and goats–and where Gujira sends home $300 a month to them.

He asked me if I knew how much money that was in Somolia.  Of course, I was clueless.  He replied it was $9 million Somolian dollars (I guess that’s Shillings after I strained myself to look at wikipedia?)  Anyway, he said there a cup of coffee was $200,000 Shillings, so while $9M sounded like a lot, it really wasn’t that much.

Then, I asked him how long he had been in the states.  He replied 7 years.  Of course, I next had to ask him if he liked it.  He replied that he LOVES America, and started talking about the American Dream.

“You know what I’m talking about?” he asked when he was talking about the American Dream…

Yes.  I do.  Or, I used to.  Maybe I still do.

Gujira went on to share that he has 5 kids – 4 sons and a daughter.  He’s thrilled that they’ll be getting a good education here in the states and that he can provide for them and help his farming family back home in Somolia.

I’d just like to state for the record that while I received a safe cab ride into my hotel from Gujira, he also did something else for me.  He restored my faith in my own country a bit.  Sometimes, I think I forget that in this country – especially after a disappointing election.  We don’t have a government trying to murder its own people, or have genocide or huge turmoil going on (other than natural disasters).  We get to do and be crazy if we want.  We have options.  We are for the most part free to live our lives.

I’m grateful that Gujira reminded me of my awesome country today, on top of a quick cab ride to my hotel.

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