One of the questions I always love to ask furloughing missionaries is, “How have things changed in America since your last visit?” I was able to ask that question again yesterday as we had the joy of spending the day with my cousin Sean and his family. Missionaries in the Philippines for several years now, they visit the U. S. every 3-4 years. This last gap had been four years. So what had changed?
– GPS. They are doing a lot of traveling to visit friends and family, as well as to speak in churches. Four years ago, he said, people would send him directions via email. Now, he says, everyone just sends an address and assumes he has a GPS, or will use Google maps, to find it. He didn’t know what a Garmin was.
– Texting. He sees people typing on their phones all the time. Didn’t see that much four years ago, he says.
– More Tattoos. He said this one was a real shocker. He came home to find far more people tatted up.
– Less Modesty. This is one that also surprised him. He says there has been a big difference in the amount of skin exposed compared to four years ago.
– Antibacterial hand wash – Sean said that he sees it everywhere now. When did America become so germa-phobic?
– More protection of personal information. On three separate occasions he was surprised to be told by friends that they would not pass along another mutual friend’s contact information without first securing permission from that mutual friend. This one not only surprised him, but me as well. I told him I had not noticed that very much yet, but perhaps it was a growing trend of which I am ignorant.
As I thought about these changes, I thought of some more:
– Increase in the price of gas.
– Increase in the number of empty commercial property units.
What do you notice has changed since four years ago?