I Got My Hair Cut Today and How America is Perceived in Belgium

This isn’t the first government shutdown that America’s seen, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Maybe it’s because it’s been so long since the last one? Come on. They happened all the time in the 70s and 80s but never in 2000.

Or I’m more aware as an adult now and so this news seems big? Really. Shit’s been spiraling out of control all over the damn world, and this just really seems like bad timing for a shutdown.

Perhaps my living in Belgium makes this kind of news out of America even bigger? Perhaps. After all I am six hours ahead or more in my day than the average American, and most news out of America is big news to me nowadays.

~

The last time there was a government shutdown in the U.S., I’d just moved out of my parents’ home in Manhattan, and was living on my own for the first time in Queens. I was so busy making ends meet working four different part-time jobs at once I didn’t care what was going on. The time before that, in 1990, I was in high school and I wasn’t affected much then either. Before that I have no childhood memories of oh my god our government is dead, so it wasn’t big news to then either.

Lots of Americans think this time around is no big deal either. I think it is a big deal and I think it’s worse timing, although when is it ever a good time for a shutdown…

I remember in 2006 when Puerto Rico’s government shut down I’d just started working at a global investment bank by Central Park. Life was good financially. In 2006, my coworkers and I sat in meetings and Puerto Rico’s shutdown in terms of economics, and then joked about the shutdown once the meetings broke.

Then the economic crisis happened and I found myself laid-off in 2009, with many of the same people I once sat in fancy conference with during meetings. I didn’t feel like joking much then. I’m sure people in other parts of the world were probably cracking jokes about the state the U.S. was in at the time.

I found my way around the world and didn’t resent or hate the people who laid me off, and I found myself married and living in Belgium by 2011. On a daily basis I get asked a variety of questions around my life here in Belgium and how America looks from here. Rather, how America is perceived.

I rarely touch politics in blog because it’s such a turnoff to so many people, and mostly because most of us don’t understand most of it…or don’t want to.

But I’ll tell you how America is perceived in Belgium…

America is a ridiculously gigantic and formidable land and whole country where you can do anything you never even knew you wanted to do and deliciously more, but where you can die because you don’t have healthcare, and oh yeah gay people have less rights.

Basically, in a proverbial nutshell, that’s it.  Deficits will never be made whole and will always be there, and not just in America. There are whole countries dying financially around the world but they just make for smaller headlines. America’s government shutdown is pretty big news here, even if the average Belgian won’t be affected.

I was sitting in a comfy chair getting my hair cut this morning at the salon in my little neighborhood in Evergem, Belgium. Here’s the cut I got…before (yesterday) and after. You can see my breasts more now, according to my husband.

Hair

 

While I was at the salon though, I got asked if America was really “shut down” and if Obama was to blame. Sigh. As an American expat living in Belgium, it was impossible for me to answer in a yes or no or maybe. I felt like a defunct Magic 8-ball grasping for an answer not so vague.

It’s so very hard to explain news, big or small, depending on your perspective.

Always dishing,

Jun

25 Comments

  1. Most important – love the hair cut …I see you have a bit of bounce at the bottom and that’s always a good, healthy looking cut!
    Most frustrating – US shutdown! It’s those in need that gets hurt the most. Should this drag on people receiving disability & SS checks could find themselves with no means of income – at all! While those with the high government jobs still rake it in. Sickening. Disgusting!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I curled the bottoms with a barrel curler. I need to cut the dead stuff! 🙂

      Times are a-changing. It’s never easy when those time come… Sigh.

      Reply
  2. OkieChris

    It’s weird because I don’t remember the other shut downs. Probably because Rich was in the Navy at the time active duty and was always paid.

    This time he is a civilian working for the Government, That means he’s out of work till the Government opens it’s doors again. I’m scared, him not so much. He thinks that it won’t be shut down long. Either way it’s weird! And I don’t like it.

    Who do I blame?
    The president for not being a good leader
    The rest of the house and senate for being childish.

    Chris

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      I don’t “think” it will be long either. But it’s just shitty. I don’t know who to blame. It always takes two to tango towards a greater good?

      Reply
  3. VickiH

    Love the hair cut.

    My brother has lived for over 30 years now in Germany.

    I have found it interesting to observe his view on how things are done in America evolving over that time.

    His biggest beefs over the last few years are the healthcare system/health insurance in the US, the discovery about the NSA recordings, and tipping waiters/waitresses.

    I agree with him about the first, I think he is lying to himself about the second (that they don’t do it in Germany), and he is terribly wrong about the third (with how it is set up currently, low hourly means they need tips).

    Well, I had to go to a government office today, and now I can’t. I am sick of Congress. I would love to show my displeasure in the voting booth, unfortunately I live in a state and area that is so overwhelmingly leaning in one political ideological direction that there isn’t even another candidate to choose.

    For me personally, this one does not affect my husband directly and I since right now he is not working on a government funded/run project, thank goodness, but it has affected us in the past, so it pisses me off for all the people that are affected directly right now.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Fiscally it’s bad because America as a country is losing billions a day in the meanwhile. Morally it’s inevitable.

      Thanks for the compliment. It was so long and dreary before ha! Long overdue 🙂

      Reply
  4. Your husband’s funny! Love your new haircut. I was a state employee when our state shutdown for a similar reason. (Standoff between the leader and politicians who disagreed with what he wanted to do.) They told all of us “non-essential employees” to stay home. We all worried we wouldn’t be paid…and then, of course, they “miraculously” worked it out under the gun and we ended up getting three paid days off in the process.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thanks. I’m loving that there’s just less hair. So much to manage ha! 🙂

      We have that non-essential list too in the financial industry. Sigh.

      Cheers to a resolution…

      Reply
  5. Karen

    I just don’t get it, to be honest. How can such a world leader just “shut down” it’s government. I should say, I get it (in that I have followed the news and know what is going on, somewhat), what I don’t get is how they can honestly do this with any sense of responsibility!

    It is appalling to me that critics are negating “Obama care” by saying it will only help 25 million people. ONLY??? It is sickening to me that a country such as the US can let any 1 person go without proper healthcare. It shouldn’t be operated as a business.

    I won’t even begin to tell you a Canadian’s perception of America.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Obama’s in a long line of leaders who have done this. It’s not personal or a playground fight. It’s Law. It’s America 🙂

      Ha! I actually don’t know what the nutshell perception is for a Canadian, about America.

      Reply
  6. vivi howe

    Hey, a thought…turn the question around. Ask them if they know how much their country is in debt. Ask them where all the money they spend on all their social services come from. I have family in holland and I think they are slaves, who live a decent slave life, but al, in all supposedly they get and have everything and they still complain that it is not enough.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thus my “I rarely touch politics in blog because it’s such a turnoff to so many people, and mostly because most of us don’t understand most of it…or don’t want to” ha! 🙂

      Reply
  7. kcsmum

    Hahaha. After reading Davy’s reaction to the haircut, I see more clearly why you may or may not have been sporting the fuck off face. Or wait. Maybe it’s me who would have that reaction. At any rate, the cut looks great.

    Reply
  8. MarluvsBB

    Love your haircut and the curl! I have family members and close friends who are furloughed because of the shut down, with no guarantee that their lost income will be reimbursed. I’m all for heath care for Americans, but I don’t believe the “law” passed was the way to go. I don’t see much fairness in a law that is arbitrarily changed by a President without the approval of Congress, since they are the ones who are supposedly only able to write and amend laws. Only time will tell what the repercussions will be to this particular law, good or bad. I truly hope it’s good, but I’m not very optimistic. Health care aside, my disappointment is greatest in the politicians themselves, who continue to act in their best interests, and not those of the populace. I consider myself a political junkie, but truth be known, of late I’ve come to hate politics. I don’t blame you one bit for avoiding the subject.

    Reply
  9. Extremely strange question. is one of the pictures backward. one had the mole on right and the other on the left. the reason i pay attention to that is because I have a mole there on left side. or do you have two .

    Reply
  10. cindy

    I find it interesting that most government employees are sent home and Congress continues to be paid. Maybe if this failure to work things out held their feet to the fire a bit they’d work a little harder.

    Reply
  11. Hey fellow crab! I’m a few days older though ☺️ 7/3/75 I found myself here through my recent Big Brother obsession. Congrats on season 4! LoL I haven’t gotten too far into that yet but looks like you may have been somewhat disliked. (Good thing crabs have thick shells

    Reply

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