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A Pilgrimage to the Holly Land

From the moment my children were born, I anticipated the day they would be old enough to take to my home.  I grew up far away, in Kenya, a place that can never quite belong to me and yet has stolen my heart, as in some tragic, unrequited love story.  They actually made that love story into the movie Out of Africa, which was coincidentally filmed in Kenya while I was living there.  I am Karen Blixen, without the gorgeous safari wardrobe and, I hope, the colonial overtones.  I am an American, I know that, I am proud of that, I cherish that, and yet I am not fully comfortable with that.  As Americanness has flourished within me, every year getting bigger and stronger, like a garden of hardy perennials, I have stubbornly fenced off a part of myself that I will not give over to it, and I carefully pull any shoots that may invade.

My children have challenged this strategy.  They are fully, unapologetically, ungratefully Americans. They live overindulged lives without seeming to consider th…

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