Earlier this week I sat talking with one of my poker playing buddies in Ft Myers Beach.  He talked at length about his two visits to Ireland and one to Germany over the last few years.  I was impressed by how much those trips meant to him.  He had spent his working life with Ford in Michigan.  The overseas trips were so different from his usual life they left an indelible mark on his memories. 

After telling me all about his experiences in Ireland, which he thoroughly enjoyed, I replied that I had lived in Ireland and agreed with much of what he said about the place.  But I was also struck by how different our experiences had been.  For my buddy this was truly a memorable event, for me it was another experience in still another country and I have lived in 17, as well as visited most of the rest.  What a contrast.

Last night I attended a dinner for those doing service for the “old diplomats” club (officially Diplomats and Consular Officers Retired).  What a contrast to talking to my poker buddy.  Here all had had experiences in many countries and the talk tended to jump from one place to another using the same terms but speaking about totally different environments.  

I suspect that most RPCVs have visions of the world abroad similar to my poker buddy since most had one foreign work experience, the Peace Corps.  However, the attitude tends to be the same for those who had one foreign experience and those who have spent their lives working abroad, we all found our foreign hosts to be reflections of ourselves, with many of the same interests, desires, hopes and aspirations. 

No question in my mind, the more we are exposed to other lands and other peoples the better the base for mutual understanding.