Look, I’ve never been that good at introductions. My best friend and I were formally introduced after he ran me down in marching band; I thought my boyfriend was a hipster douche on our first meeting; heck, they had to slice open my mother just to get me to show my face in this world (sorry Mom). So I’ll just start this the way I usually introduce myself to strangers: LOOK AT MY PUPPY.
So, I’m Rachel, proud absentee dog mom, sometime comedian, and delighted new COTR writing intern. I finished my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in Reykjavík as a foreign exchange student, and now I live and work at a whiskey distillery in Dublin. Yum.
I knew ever since I was little that I wanted to see the entire world, and I got started in high school as an exchange student in Kiel, Germany. I fell in love with the way the world looks in different places with different perspectives, and I’ve been changed by them. But what strikes me the most is how, after living abroad for two years in two different countries with no end in sight, all the values I was raised with continue to stand up to scrutiny.
Of course, like any teenager, I had my “baby boomers don’t know anything” phase. It was exacerbated by the scourge of social media known as Tumblr, on the front page of which feminism and critical thinking say their tearful goodbye; but in my defense, it had copious pictures of young Jon Bon Jovi, so, you know, win some lose some.
Luckily I was saved from leftist indoctrination by my contrarian nature and resistance to blindly trusting authority, or in this case, 19-year-old students of gender studies who fancy themselves authorities. Instead, I dug deeper to try to reconcile what my peers, professors, and friends said with such conviction with the values I was raised to believe in. To make a long story of diligent research, experimental nihilism, and Twitter fights short: Mom 1, Tumblr 0.
Even beyond poking holes in the paper-thin premises that define the platforms of the modern left, I’ve come to appreciate conservative, traditional, small government values by virtue of living abroad. When I first moved to Europe, it was extremely fashionable among my peer group to be So Over™ America, and I was. But you can only buy so many $10 beers and get emergency taxed at 50+ percent so many times before you have to sit down with yourself and say, “Wow, America is actually pretty excellent.” And having the space to step back from the political sideshow of cable news has given me the chance to really work through and unravel my thoughts and positions. Leaving America has made me a much more involved, self-assured, and informed American.
That being said, I have no idea at the moment if/when I’ll move back. Instead, I’ll occupy my time with writing (of both the political and creative persuasions), missing my puppy, doing stand up, and drinking Irish whiskey. To our American readers, I urge you to appreciate the privilege of good quality white queso, not having to bag your own groceries, and going to the pharmacy on Sundays. And whatever you do, don’t give up on Fahrenheit.