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Amira last won the day on January 30 2017

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  1. We have similar scenarios often on 10+ hour flights and we’re a tall family. If the flight will be full, we prefer to sit in a row together since we’d rather be stuck next to someone we know. If it’s fairly empty, as many international flights are these days, then we sit near each other in aisle seats next to empty middle seats. Any flight less than 6 hours is short to us and no one cares what the seating arrangement is then.
  2. I was reading a post elsewhere last night (it’s 9/12 here) about how everyone came together after 9/11. But all the United We Stand stuff rang hollow to me to 20 years ago because I have so many Muslim friends, both in the US and overseas. The days after 9/11 weren’t very unifying when you were watching non-citizen Muslim friends make frantic preparations to fly back to their passport countries because they felt like they wouldn’t be accepted in the US anymore, or hearing about friends who were scared to go outside with a hijab on because of the way they were treated, or seeing a friend get arrested on false terrorism charges and held in solitary confinement for months and months until he was finally cleared and allowed to go home. His family will never be the same. And then living in Muslim countries for nearly half of the last 20 years? I’ve seen the effects of US foreign policy decisions that were driven by 9/11 in so many places, including connections that aren’t so obvious. I have friends who are still trying to get people out of Afghanistan. So yeah, it feels unusually personal this year, partly for political reasons I won’t get into here.
  3. What kinds of apples are on your trees?
  4. Good luck! All the moving pieces are hard to juggle right now, but you’ll get there. I’m glad you’ll be able to see your parents again.
  5. I get this. My relationship changed with my middle child when they started to go to high school in 11th grade, and there were definitely losses. I especially was sad that we didn’t get to do history together anymore because we’d had so much fun with it for years. But, it turned out that our relationship didn’t get bad, it was just different, and there were a lot of definite positives. I loved seeing the influence of good teachers in their life. They had the chance to make good friends they never would have met as a homeschooler. I also loved having more time for me to explore my own interests. And my kid was happy in school. It was a good thing overall, no question. That same kid is a junior in university right now, on the other side of the world from me. We still talk everyday online, and we’re working our way through children’s book series together. Homeschooling isn’t the only way to have a great time with your kid.
  6. A baking steel. It makes the best flatbreads and pizza I’ve ever made at home.
  7. That has been our experience outside the US too. There was a weekly patriotic assembly at our school in Mexico that was quite a production, but everywhere else we’ve been, overt shows of patriotism are either frowned on or just not something anything thinks of doing. I see more flags in a few weeks in the US than I do in six months in some places. And the flags in the US are so big! Pretty much no one else does massive flags like the US. And certainly not in front of grocery stores. Military displays and parades as patriotic events are much more common outside the US though. I’d rather have massive flags over military parades.
  8. I agree with this. To be clear, I’m not advocating that Americans shouldn’t get boosters when they’re due for them. The way the system is set up, it’s best for them to get boosters and any other vaccines possible. And I don’t think you personally are victim blaming, Corraleno, because I know you wouldn’t do that, but I have heard the excuse too many times that we just shouldn’t help someone because they’ll misuse the assistance that is given, rather than putting the responsibility on the giver to make sure the right type of help is offered. I do think there’s no getting around the fact that the entire system advantages and will continue to advantage the wealthy, whether on a community, state, country, or international scale. And I do think that Americans have become even more insular than usual in the last 18 months, which means they’re even less likely to try to change the system. It really doesn’t make sense on a worldwide scale for people with the best healthcare systems to get three shots before people who have no healthcare system get any shots in the middle of a pandemic that doesn’t care about borders. It is unethical and foolish to set up the system that way. But within that system, anyone who can get shots should because refusing shots won’t solve anything and makes things worse, in some ways.
  9. I would give just about anything for an effective shelf stable single dose vaccine that could be produced in Africa within a few months of coming on the market.
  10. Distribution is a major issue in some parts of Africa. Not where I am, since there have been a number of major and successful public health campaigns here in the last 50 years. Vaccines aren’t getting wasted here and there was a lot of prep before any vaccines arrived. But there had also been significant investment in the health care system for decades before, especially from USAID, that is again proving to had been a good investment in my opinion. There are separate political reasons why the US has been willing to invest in this country that don’t exist for most African countries so most get left behind, unfortunately. I’m not really sure if even a year’s prep time would have made any difference at all in a country like South Sudan where corona has been around fourth or fifth on their list of crises in the last 18 months. Food insecurity, war, drought, locusts, displacement and mental health trauma from 30 years of war haven’t really been dislodged by corona. It kind of feels to me like blaming the victims when people bring up the fact that many African nations aren’t using their limited vaccines. That means that in addition to providing vaccines, wealthier countries also need to support delivery to individuals rather than just dropping off vaccines and then saying that doesn’t work. Wealthy countries also had time over the last year to work on creating that infrastructure, and that’s an investment that will continue to pay off later with other health care emergencies. There’s a lot of vaccine hesitancy in my country, especially about any vaccine from China. People do say they’d be more willing to get an American vaccine. It’s so important for people with easy access to vaccines to not spread vaccine misinformation because it doesn’t only convince their friends not to get vaccinated, but people all over the world. That is a tangible thing Americans can do that would actually make a difference.
  11. The trouble is, from my perspective here in Africa, you all already have life jackets/oxygen masks on because of a medical system that is significantly more functional, even now during a delta wave, than the medical systems in almost every country on this continent during normal times. You have economic systems that can weather financial crises better. You’re still traveling and vacationing. You’re first in line for everything. I have a friend here who has been stuck since corona started and hasn’t been able to return to her home in Micronesia because there are too many legs on her flight that go through countries that won’t allow her to fly through. She has children and grandchildren in Micronesia, including a grandchild that she would usually be caring for. I truly don’t know when she’ll be able to go home, but her situation is not unique. Death rates look low in most of Africa, but we’re not even close to knowing what is going on with corona in most of this continent. Almost every refugee in Africa, and there are many millions, is living in a country that cannot help them in any way and the UN doesn’t have enough resources to even make sure refugees have enough of the most basic food. Food insecurity has increased significantly in the last 18 months. Children aren’t going to school and they’re already receiving a lower quality education than an American child would. There certainly aren’t virtual schooling options. Some countries have other significant issues that a pandemic only exacerbates. I realize that I probably sound extreme here, but the disparity is glaring from here, even more so than in normal times. Americans have complained more than anyone on this planet about corona in spite of having more advantages in getting through it. Just shut up, get vaccinated, wear your masks, quit spreading conspiracy theories, send as many high-quality vaccines as possible to other countries, donate to COVAX, and realize this isn’t over because there still are a lot more people who need help getting through this.
  12. Yeah. I care about this a lot. Africa, the continent I live in, is at about 2% vaccination. I'm watching refugee friends see a clear uptick in deaths of family members in their home country, even though reported numbers are still very low. I can't even imagine how they'll get vaccines to many people there when most people have almost no access to any kind of specialized medical care. But that country is in an unusually difficult situation and there are ways to get vaccines distributed in many lower-income countries if they just were available. But I've also given up on wealthy countries actually doing anything about it besides donating cheaper vaccines (that are often less effective or slightly more risky) and donating money, even though it's a medically foolish decision in the long run. My country is now producing Sinovac and just started delivering doses. They have 15 million ready to go and expect to produce 15-18 million doses a month to be distributed around Africa. I'm not sure if any other African countries are also producing vaccine. My country started the process to make corona vaccines in the summer of 2020. I wish more mRNA vaccines were available in Africa. I wish that more people had already been vaccinated here. I wish that Americans and others weren't pushing conspiracy theories about vaccines that scare at-risk people who are without access to good treatment if they get corona. I wish that we'd actually start working together better to fight corona on worldwide scale, rather than on a local, state, or country scale. I wish that Americans who possibly can would get vaccinated ASAP so that the US could then just keep shots for boosters on hand and send all the rest overseas. I wish a lot of things about corona.
  13. It’s actually not uncommon for American citizens to get trapped in a country when things get dangerous quickly. Sometimes the US government can help, sometimes it can’t. Nearly always, the US citizens knew that things were getting bad. The US government issued a level 4 warning about Afghanistan at the end of June. Anyone who was there knew it was risky to be there. We’ve had this type of discussion multiple times on these boards over the years. None of that means that it’s okay for the US government to abandon its citizens in any country, but there comes a time when it can’t do much to help you, whether it’s weather, a pandemic, terrorism, war, an infrastructure breakdown, a coup, or any number of other things that put Americans in danger. What do you expect the State Department and US military to do when you’re stuck and it can’t get to you? I said the same thing in March of 2020 to lots of friends who were debating whether to return to their passport countries too. It’s not about politics, but the resources that the State Department actually has available to assist US citizens overseas.
  14. I completely agree. My comment only refers to hindsight in this war and whether any good at all came from it, not what should or shouldn’t have happened at any point before this. I have my own thoughts about the origins of this war or whether anyone should have supported or opposed it. I’ll never forget where I was sitting and what I was thinking on Sunday, October 7th, when this war began.
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