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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
Balance
_
By Alison Baumy
Contemporary Cultural Differences...
_ By Ninni Siurua
Eclipsed Yesterdays
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Healthy Guy
_ By David J. LeMaster
Immortalis Letum
_ By Sophie Davis
Last Call For Salvation
_ By Angela P. Markham
My Fault
_ By Ro Thorton
Pacific Northwest
_ By Aaron Hellem
Q-Q Ca Choo
_ By Billy Pilgrim
The Best Laid Plans
_ By John A. Ward
The Ecstasy of Cooking
_ By Sam Nolting
The Girl With the Green Umbrella
_ By J.R. Earlebeck
The Gods of Houston
_ By Rebekah Frumkin

Poetry
Athena's Owl
_ By Amberly Mason
But I Have Never Known This
_ By Kaleen Love
Clouds On Your Floor
_ By Savannah Bobo
Crowded Lobby
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Ever After
_ By Bennie Johnson
Important Questions
_ By P.T. Bell
Migration
_ By Sarah Wassberg
Moon Goddess
_ By Kristina Diane Smith
Oldest Profession
_ By Ashley Polker
On Visiting Hay-on-Wye
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Sodom and Gomorrah
_ By Jessica Fannin
Wal-Mart
_ By P.T. Bell

Art & Photography
Jeremy Harker
_ Paintings
Douglas C. Knight
_ Photography
Jed Knox
_ Paintings and Drawings
May Ann Licudine
_ Paintings
Danny Malboeuf
_ Paintings
Alex Stanbury
_ Photography

Contemporary Cultural Differences Between Europe and the United States: A Case Study
By Ninni Siurua


Last February I had the pleasure of leaving Finland and spending two and a half weeks in The Land of Lazy People (it is more often referred as “The United States of the America”). Everything I knew before I went there I had learned from movies and TV shows, as it should be. I also had taken a “U.S. and Canada” course a year before, but I remembered absolutely nothing of it. On the other hand, no amount of lectures could have prepared me for Regis and Kelly, or perky girl scouts.

Flights
For a person who has never traveled by herself, the flights were quite an experience. First, a perky (yes, I know I keep repeating this word), 40 year old American flight attendant kept calling me “honey”. It was somewhat disturbing. Then, on the flight from London to Chicago, I had my first experience of the phrase “in America everything is bigger.” I think that’s a phrase; if not, it should be.

I was waiting to get my snack before the landing; now, I understand “snack” as something you eat in between meals, like maybe a fruit or a yogurt, but this snack was the biggest, thickest, and tastiest pizza I’ve ever had. It only had cheese and tomato since I don’t eat meat, but it was heavenly, and Chicago looked really nice in the evening lights.

Driving around
It seemed like everybody in the States has something to compensate with their cars, because I’ve never seen so many big cars at once. No one here has those kinds of cars.

I was strangely infatuated by the traffic culture though, and I don’t even have a driving license. The freeways were so cool, and I might have taken way too many pictures while driving. That was some crazy driving, because everybody was changing many lanes all the time. And you didn’t have lanes just on the freeways; you got them downtown too.

After two and a half weeks of getting around by car, it was awful to go back to walking and cycling again. I think I saw three bikes during the whole time I was there, and I also got lazy like the Americans. You don’t get out of the car unless you absolutely must. Like outside a fast food place: you just wait until they bring the food to you, and when you return videos, you don’t take them inside the store, you just drop them into a box.

Besides cars, there were churches everywhere. I should have counted how many churches we passed while driving for five minutes, but I’m sure it would have been more than five. There were churches next to each other, called “The Church Of People Of 2007 Revello Road” and “The Church Of People Aged 45 Who Own A Dog Called Johnny.” I guess that explains the huge number of them. It was fascinating how many differently named churches there were.

I had had the false assumption that the temperature would be somewhat the same as here, but it was nice not having to wear a jacket. I saw people who were wearing shorts and a t-shirt. In February.

It was so nice having this spring feeling. There was actually green grass to be seen, and of course I had to take a picture of that. I was also surprised to see grass everywhere (well, almost everywhere). I wouldn’t have expected the place to be so green, and it made everything look so much nicer than here. I think it was also because there weren’t forests right next to the freeways, and that made it more spacious. So I learned that trees make me anxious. It’s a good thing that only about 70% of Finland is covered by trees.

Food
I never remembered to take a picture inside Publix or Kroger, although I took a picture of the “Kroger: Food and Drugs” sign. But the plan was to photograph the endless lanes of frozen food. These people freeze everything. Never have I seen so many different kinds of lasagna. I guess no one actually cooks anything there; you just buy it and put it in the oven or microwave. Lazy people. Oh, I’m sorry, busy.

I also should have taken a picture of the lanes of soft drinks. Impressive. Now that I think about it, I think we have those lanes too; they are just beer and cider. I did buy some Bud Ice, after an attempt to break the law. Apparently you can’t have a minor carrying your beer for you, because they want to see their IDs too. So, you have to buy less, or have a shopping cart.

(Turn the page)