The Beginnings: The 2017 Manifesto

It's 2017 and I've never before felt such a pull towards achieving the ultimate in life. What is my ultimate? For me the ultimate is finding a way to combine my passions into a way of life that is intentional, sustainable, and enriching. 

So what are my passions?

  • FAMILY: My number one priority in life is my family (immediate first and foremost). There are my everything because in them in find my best self, my greatest loves, and deepest desires. Any quality time spent with them is time well spent and is never regretted. All factors point to the fact that this is where I should be for the majority of my day, if possible.
     
  • LIFE TRAVEL: Exploration is part of my DNA, Marisa's DNA, and thus has become part of our family's DNA. In travel (NOT tourism), we're constantly in the process of making new connections: connections in the brain, connections in the world community, and connections within our relationships that bind us closer together. In immersing ourself in the foreign, we're constantly uncovering all that is common and completely natural about our life experience.
     
  • FAITH: Do we understand how to live to our fullest capacity? No. Does God know how to help us reach greater heights than we could ever imagine possible? Absolutely. It's in reaching out to him through meditation and prayer that we enable ourselves to become open to the infinite. My faith has carried me through some of life's greatest challenges. I cannot deny it and wholeheartedly endorse it as a path to higher personal development and an enriching element to every relationship I hold dear. We each have faith in something and that faith can bind us together stronger than we can ever imagine possible.
     
  • LIFE CAPTURE: I believe strongly we are stewards of each moment of our lives. Our ability to capture and share our life scriptures is essential - first and foremost for those in our closest circles and then for humanity at large. We are each living extraordinary lives in silence (some of us less silent than others). Who am I not to be brilliant? Who am I not to share and believe our life experience can hold value for those around us in similar circumstances?

So where does this "manifesto" of sorts take me and our family? I'm unsure but I know it can take us to places never before imagined. I just have to decide whether to board each morning and allow my mind and spirit to be carried to new heights.

Little Frenchie Smurfs: The TV Episode

NO SPOILER ALERT BELOW (I say as if this was some kind of Star Wars trailer release...)

Last night we finally watched the House Hunters episode staring the Little Frenchie Smurfs, Wes, my coworker Elena from Ukraine, new friends from Lachassagne, our local baker, etc. It was fun to catch a glimpse of so many, especially the shots of Marisa's mother, Linda (although she undoubtedly would have hated ALL the photos we used).

The boys were disgusted that we passed up what we did for where we are now. As far as they're concerned, we're the absolute worst at International House Hunting and gave us a solid ten thumbs down :)

C'est la vie.

“That was the best & worst week of my life!”

Abandonment is a strong word to use in the context of parenting, but we learned recently it has its benefits.

On a crisp spring morning last month, Marisa and I dropped the three elder #littlefrenchiesmurfs off with their village classmates for a five-day field trip known as “la classe verte” (short for découverte = discovery).[1] The boys had known this day was coming for months, but foreknowledge only takes you so far in foreign territory.

Turns out our little by-products of a standardized American public school system were prone to emotional side-affects when confronted with France’s rich traditions:

“Five days away… and it’s far away!!...

They’re going to make us sleep in a castle... hey, maybe it’ll be the dungeon!

…I’m pretty sure they’re crazy here!!”

As anyone who knows our boys can imagine, the morning of the departure was witness to the full range of emotions: #sammajamma was quietly damning up his reservoir of tears, #noahbidoah was anxiously brooding, and #oliverboliver couldn’t wait to get on the bus (the entire school of six classes fits comfortably into one standard bus).

By the time the bus pulled away from the school parking lot for their five-hour journey, the tinted bus window into their new adventure revealed Noah characteristically oblivious to the world, Oliver chit-chatting away with buddies, and Sammy weeping silently next to a unknown parent supervisor.

I’d like to say we anxiously paced the home for the next five days praying and hoping they’d have a positive experience, but instead we boarded a plane with #eliotzeliot to Barcelona for the week.

We did, however, make sure to fly home in time to pick up the boys. The opposing bookend of their adventure revealed Noah bounding off the bus with wooden sword in hand, Oliver breaking away from his friends long enough to hand us his luggage, and sweet Sammy carefully weaving his way through the crowd - the damned tears (of joy, thankfully) visibly cracking behind his big brown eyes.

What I found most poignant in the experience was Noah’s unprompted exclamation on the car ride home: “That was the best and worst week of my entire life!”

That 13-second, 11-word expression threw my mind into a rewind of times I’d made a similar exclamation, none of which came at as early an age as Noah. It also aptly summed up 92% of our imperfect adult reasoning for this family experience. We knew throwing the boys into France wouldn’t be easy. Truth be told, we still have nights (like last Thursday) when many many tears are shed: Family is too far away, school is never-ending, basically you name the subject and the boys can still rattle off endless reasons why France stinks like bad bleu cheese.

And yet, in all that is rotten and horrible, Marisa and I catch daily glimpses into the accomplishments imperceptible to their little boy eyes.

Case in point, last night was spent at the school’s Kermesse (think end-of-school-carnival with medieval reenactments in place of bouncy houses, wine in place of Sprite, and fancy cheese in place of cotton candy).

During the course of the evening, we ran into Noah’s very strict and mostly negative maîtresse who, for the first eight months, consistently wondered aloud to Marisa how Noah would ever survive in life. Last night, however, she had nothing but positive things to say about his recent activity in class, even going so far as wishing she could keep him another year. At the same time, Oliver and Sammy were spending the evening laughing, joking, and getting soaked by their well-established Franco-friends.

To the #littlefrenchiesmurfs, it’s just everyday life but to Marisa and myself it’s a series of small and welcome changes that when strung together make for what’s miraculous in this “best and worst” experience of our family's life to-date.

[1] Classe verte can last up to five days in another part of France when you’re in elementary school. Get a little older and the trips get longer and often you need a passport, maybe even a visa to participate.

 

Perspectifs

"Today Noah bought a stuffed animal and a microscope at the museum gift shop, which seemed like a fitting way to capture the two worlds we're all straddling right now."

"Today Noah bought a stuffed animal and a microscope at the museum gift shop, which seemed like a fitting way to capture the two worlds we're all straddling right now."

From Tears to Tears

Last week I was having a conversation with dear friends (known here as Jam & Jelly) who were reminiscing about the beginning of their expat journey in Sankt Wendel, Germany. What they found upon arrival was a non-stop barrage of emotional polar extremes: one minute they were overhearing heavenly choirs welcoming them to their new world[1]; the next they were thrust into a hellish reality where, unable to speak the language, the likelihood of buying bread at the local grocer made starving seem like the inevitable alternative.

The conversation was timely, as I found myself on the tail end of a similar roller coaster. Two weekends ago Marisa and I took Noah to London for his 11-year-old trip[2]. The morning of departure, I woke up on the verge of tears brought on by what I perceived as an insurmountable five days: Three days in London with Noah, then back to France to take a grueling 2.5 hour finance exam for my MBA, then fly out to Germany immediately following the exam, then train and automobile my way through Western Germany to then finally arrive and depart from Luxembourg to get home. Imagine one of those Indiana Jones map animations but that ends up looking like ugly spaghetti in the end and that was my itinerary.

During the London leg with Noah and Marisa I was on top of the world, filled with a renewed sense of gratitude and awe at the responsibility of parenthood. 11 years ago Marisa and I were brand new at this with no idea what to do with a child. We simultaneously loved beyond any capacity previously registered in our hearts and were terrified of what to do (or not do) with this new being. With every glance at Noah in London, a startling reality stared back at me: “we’re past our halfway mark of being full-time parents with him!” It left my heart brimming over with immense joy and anticipation for the man he will become; yet there were multiple times during the three days when I held back tears trying to squeeze on tight to the innocence that is so characteristic of my little boy.

With the rest of the trip came the lows and loop-de-loops that I’ve learned come standard with my business travel: cancelled flights, late-night check-ins, and plenty of mediocre, non-Marisa cooked food. Sure enough, by the time I stumbled out of my rental car and into my MBA courses on day five I was again on the verge of tears of exhaustion, physical, mental, and emotional.

The experience made me realize both how unique and foreign this will all seem someday. The idea of roller-coastering around Western Europe squirting a trail of tears behind me seems silly even as I type it, but it’s a reality I’m willing to embrace and share because one day, just like baby Noah, it will be a reference point; a dot on my lifeline that can bring both an immense sense of gratitude or regret, depending on how I choose to live it today.

Little Frenchie Fluency

It’s great to have points of reference when learning a new skill, like juggling with fire, synchronized swimming, or even speaking French. With the latter in mind, here’s video of the #littlefrenchiesmurfs on Month 1 & Month 9 saying a few phrases in their mother-from-another-brother-tongue:

Noah Month 1

Noah Month 9

Sammy Month 1

Sammy Month 9

Oliver Month 1

Oliver Month 9

Eliot Month 1

Eliot Month 9

Just goes to show what exiling your kids to the French countryside and forcing them to live a “Little Ouse on zee Praireee”- esque experience can do for their future high-school AP French grades (assuming they improve past saying "hello" and "my name is...")… 

[1] Singing 99 Luftballons, of course

[2] For those of you unfamiliar with 11-year-old trips, here is the basic gist: “Go have dedicated one-on-one vacation time with your preteen before puberty hits them, they go wacko, and hate your guts a lot for a while.”

That's a Wrap (Our Time as Reality TV Employees)

Having never been considered for reality TV stardom, Marisa, the #littlefrenchiesmurfs, and I really had no idea what to expect going into last week’s adventure with House Hunters International. When we left for France in August, a couple of close friends had suggested we apply to the show (which we shamefully had never watched), so we rightfully obeyed. We figured it was kind of like applying to community college - as you met certain criteria (in this case moving abroad while needing to obtain adequate shelter), you were pretty much guaranteed to get in.

We learned this week that most people actually don’t make the cut, which made us feel even more honored to have gone through the experience. Tonight, in true Smurthwaite fashion, I asked for highlights from our five days of filming. Not one person mentioned the lights, or the cameras, or the thrill of being on TV in some distant future (FYI - 6-8 months is the average lag between shooting and airing, so set your DVR’s now for mid-October 2016). Instead, what we all loved most about the experience were the people we came to love behind all the lights, cameras, and action:

Risa, Director: 

“Are you sure Benny will be okay all alone?” was Risa’s first questions when she and Marisa connected on Filmday Eve (we couldn’t bring him to our Day 1 shoot). Turns out she has three dogs of her own, one of which she adopted and brought home from Panama to NYC while shooting for HHI.

Like most pet lovers, Risa’s ability to love naturally radiates outward. For example, the #littlefrenchiesmurfs learned quickly that if they wanted any “snackys” to make a bee line for Risa and not Maman and Papa.

A couple of favorite Risa moments:

  • On our last house tour, she and Luc (our “realtor”) had an artistic difference about a meowing menace (i.e. cat) that she was convinced was starving. Instead of arguing about whether to feed it, she just made Marisa, Luc and I reset the scene multiple times so she could keep sneaking cat food to it every time we walked out of the room.

  • Monday, while traveling home, Risa sent a special note to Noah – the “blossoming artist,” as she refers to him. It was a quote from Pete Docter, (director of Inside Out) from the Oscars last night and it made her think of him: “Anyone out there who's in junior high, high school, suffering, there are days you're going to feel sad, you're going to feel angry, you're going to feel scared, that's nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff. Make film, draw, write. It'll make a world of difference."

It just goes to show you how much Risa cared to connect with our family, which really means the world to us.

Matt, Cameras

A self-admitted problem solver, it didn’t take much time for the #littlefrenchiesmurfs to recognize that Matt was the man with all the toys. In their little heads you hear the gears clicking: cool cameras = cool electronic equipment, cool electronic equipment = cool games. He didn’t fail to disappoint them with a barrage of iPhone apps that kept them (and Luc) giggling like little schoolboys. 

Matt was calm, positive, and always made me feel like I was excelling in my newfound calling of TV actor. He even involved me in shot sequence discussions (which he knew I would like coming from my creative director background). Favorite Matt moments:

  • He had me at hello the minute he pulled out his new toy, an Osmo Camera from DJI, to film the #littlefrenchiesmurfs and friends playing soccer. (I’m now trying to figure out how to get one myself)
     
  • His “self-talk” which Risa insisted was incessant, but only came on strong when the house tours got tough. We had one day where we had back-to-back tours, which doesn’t happen on most HHI shoots, and everyone was wasted by the end of the day.

James, Sound

James is the quintessential lovable Londoner with a dry sense of humor that paired well in any setting. Marisa loved how polite James and Matt both were and commented more than once how nice it was to have such good examples for the #littlefrenchiesmurfs. James is also a pet lover (two cats back home that he and his wife like to dress up around the holidays) and the boys cozied up to him at lunch the minute they heard “Playstation” and “Nintendo Wii” come out of his mouth.

One of James’ greatest talents during our time together was his ability to capture the boys’ attention in a way which made them feel he genuinely cared about them. Favorite James moments:

  • The “decision scene” was saved until the 11th hour of the last day (the team graciously let us attend Church in the AM which we so appreciated) and the littlest boys were in meltdown mode. At one point, James had Oliver and Eliot come try on his amazing headphones and had Marisa and I talk to them through our mics. They both squealed with delight to hear what James hears and it distracted them enough to carry us through to the end.
     
  • On our last house tour, James needed to stand in for Luc for a second and it made Marisa laugh so hard that he finally had to turn his back in an effort to break her laughing fits. It didn’t work, but it made for a great memory.

Kevin, Fixer

Until six days ago, I had no idea that a “fixer” was even a recognizable profession. Now I don’t know how a production would get on without one. Kevin is Cannois (meaning he’s from Cannes in Southern France) and basically made sure everything was where it needed to be and everyone was where they needed to be every minute of our five days together. His unofficial title was “Eliot’s best bud.” Eliot insisted that he sit next to Kevin at every meal and was always asking if Kevin could come play.

Although it was his job, Kevin was uber-sensitive to our every need. When Marisa had dry eyes, he ran to the pharmacy for contact lens juice. When the boys needed to be quiet, he took them outside to climb trees and jump on trampolines. He even endured Benny with a horrendous allergy to animals. Favorite Kevin moments:

  • On the morning of day 1 during our intro interviews, Eliot really wanted to play an obscure French board game whose instructions had long escaped the box. Instead of giving up, Kevin just made up funky rules so he and Eliot could play together. Eliot was sold from that minute on.
     
  • At every lunch, Kevin would go painstakingly out of his way to make sure everyone got precisely what they wanted (including my herbal tea at the end of every meal) as quickly as possible. As soon as he sensed we were close to being done, he’d promptly head outside to “do a time-lapse” with Matt (i.e. take a smoke).
     
  • On Day 1 Kevin was asking Marisa about our beliefs. After explaining some of the basic tenets of our faith. Kevin responded, “I think I’m a little Mormon too!” 

Luc, Realtor

Some of you HHI fans will recognize Luc from previous episodes. He informed us early on that this was episode #10 for him. We suggested he begin wearing a very random yet distinct item of clothing for future episodes, so instead of calling episode 11, he could say it was the “beret” episode… or the “leather pants” episode. Unsurprisingly, Luc was high-energy all day, every day and had a boyish innocence mixed with accomplished overachiever that was magnetic in its delivery.

The greatest thing about Luc was his sincere approach to life. He’s lived in a number of cities around the world, met all kinds of people, and truly feels a deep obligation to create a better life for himself, and more importantly others. Favorite Luc moments:

  • On our double-header house tour day, Luc had listened to some quality easy rock on the way to the shoot. The result was him breaking out in “Forev-ah Young… I wanna be… fo-ev-ah young” at random intervals during the day.
     
  • As mentioned above, Matt introduced Luc to the iOS app that can change your face into a gorilla or disco star or Leonardo diCaprio over one of our lunches. From that point on, anytime I caught Luc giggling at his iPhone, I just knew he was doing the disco star setting. 

In the end, the #littlefrenchiesmurfs decided they could each be like one of our new friends: Sammy could be Matt, Oliver could be James, Eliot could be Kevin, and Noah got to be Risa. They said I could be like Luc. They also decided that Noah and Sammy would head to London next to visit Matt and Kevin, Eliot would go visit Kevin in Paris, and Oliver and Maman would head to NYC to stay with Risa.

Needless to say, we’re feeling lucky to have so many amazing role models in the life of our little boys; new friends from new places that have demonstrated to them once again that this earth is filled with amazingly caring people. 

Hope Next Year is Better

Yesterday we received a Christmas present in the mail from my Grandmother. Included was a single sheet of famous quotes she had copied/pasted from a variety of sources talking about the power of imagination.

Here was my favorite of the grouping:

"Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere." 
- Albert Einstein 

This year our family has seen a lot of everywhere. From the thriving minitropolis of Salt Lake City, USA to the village people of Lachassagne, France... we've started a new life in a new place with a new set of rules. Weekly Costco runs have been replaced by daily baguette runs. Hot-n-ready Little Caesar's has been replaced by Pizza Van pizza (Thurs. nights only from 6:00 to 9:00 PM). The first day of the week is suddenly Monday, 2:00 PM is now 14h00... basically name any Jeopardy category for "Smurthwaite Standard Living" and it's been flipped on its head.

It's been uncomfortable at times, unbearable at others, and as we come to the close of this very unique year I'm learning that I wouldn't have it any other way. 

On our way home from Church today Marisa was telling the boys jokes and sayings in French, Italian, and Spanish (ask her to tell you the Dos Vampiros joke sometime, it's a side-splitter). This Italian saying also rang true with the theme of today's AE ramble:

"Quello che il bruco chiama fine del mondo, il resto del mondo chiama farfalla (translated: That which the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the rest of the world calls a butterfly)" 
- Lao Tse (probably NOT an Italian)

So here's to a 2016 filled with the uncomfortable, unbearable, and at times possibly even the end of the world. I'm pretty sure the more we seek those out, the better off the year is going to be.

Joyeux Christmas!

Today the #littlefrenchiesmurfs ventured out after Church to one of the hundreds of Marchés de Noel in the area. This particular Christmas market was 40 minutes away in the medieval hilltop village of Pérouges, where most of the standing buildings date back to the 15th/16th century.

Aside from the live nativity with a sheep that would violently flick its ears anytime Eliot tried to touch it, the market came equipped with a Père Noel (also dating from the 15th century), orange cider with honey/cinnamon, a christmas concert in the medieval cathedral, and free edible snail samples.

It also managed to inspire this year's Christmas Card (apologies we're not mailing out this year):

Now that you know that we're not mailing out cards, hopefully you've not already wasted a stamp sending one our way. HOWEVER, if you were still wanting to go against your better judgement and needed a mailing address (also useful if you ever want to send hate mail), here's where you can find our new mailbox:

210b Chemin des Fûts
69480 Lachassagne
France

Loves and a Merry Christmas,


 

Dear Superwoman, We Miss You

Dear Superwoman,

I tell myself often that no one is irreplaceable, but that's me talking about me... not me talking about you. The reality is that life is not the same without you. Yes, we all have managed to figure out how to get out of bed every morning, but from that point on it's a real crapshoot.  

I'm sorry that I didn't tell you how often you saved the day while you were here. To my defense (poor as it may be), it happened so frequently that it would have been like remembering to thank my lungs for breathing or the #littlefrenchiesmurfs for making a mess of the toilet seat. It was simply planned into the day: Reminder - Linda saves your bacon at 10:00AM (recurring daily).

I'm also sorry that we have come to France without you. I like to console myself with this one too, imagining you just over the next hill on our long walks through the vineyards, but my heart dips at every rise with no you on the horizon. I know you loved being with Marisa here and I'm sure it makes you smile to see her so happy, but know we'd give up all the baguettes in this land just for 300 seconds of your time.

Lastly, I'm sorry this was the last picture that we took together (Halloween 2013, just to be clear). I'm having a blast, but your half-forced smile can't hide the fact that you're second guessing whether you shouldn't have tried harder to convince Marisa to look for someone more... polished in a partner, like a thoracic surgeon, patent attorney, or anyone other than the grinning goof in a speedo standing next to you. 

I'll close with your obituary, only because I feel like you helped me write it at a ridiculous hour on a freezing fall morning two years ago when no words could possibly sum you up, but something had to be said to help your loved ones cope with you being gone. 

Thanks for still being part of our lives Superwoman. We can't see you... but that's unfortunately how it goes with superheroes.

____________________________________________________________________________

Linda Olson
1949 - 2013

It is rare in life to know a soul as caring as Linda Olson. Born January 17, 1949 to Isamu and Kyoko Tanabe in Salt Lake City, Utah, Linda was raised knowing how to serve. She spent her childhood working side-by-side with her parents and brother, Paul, in their family diner, The Lunchbox Cafe. In 1970, after a courtship consisting of one Simon and Garfunkel concert and a few Sunday roasts, she married her eternal companion, Wesley Olson, on May 1 in Eatontown, New Jersey. They were then sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on March 15, 1971. Wes and Linda became the parents to five beautiful children and eleven grandchildren. 

Anyone who spent more than two minutes with Linda knows she lived to make her children and grandchildren happy. The relationships she lovingly tailored between them will forever be her greatest legacy. For the past few years, much of Linda's time was devoted to the care of her aunt, Grace Kasai. She relished spending time with lifelong friends Lynn Murray and Jackie Taylor. She loved her adopted kids: Shey (Brett) Christiansen, Kayo (Tyler) Nilsson and grandkids Bailey and Alieta.

Linda worked for many years at Automated Business Products. She loved her ABP family and could always be counted on for donuts, voodoo cold remedies, and the occasional shock treatment. She was a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and spent years serving alongside her dear friend, Pat Christensen, in everything from Relief Society to the nursery. They walked and talked through life together and, as tragic as it seems, it's comforting to know that Linda's last moments were spent in a pair of tennis shoes walking next to Pat.
While we will never understand the physics behind it, Linda managed to spend all her waking hours caring for every family member, friend, and colleague in her life. Those who met her instantly gained a mother, a sister, a best friend and confidant. She was a force of nature in the lives of those she loved, as tangible as gravity, as reliable as the sunrise. She was the guiding star for each of us and, while we take comfort in the knowledge of a joyful reunion one day, we'll struggle in the meantime figuring out what to make for Sunday dinners and who's in charge of the next holiday party. 

Her twin daughters Jodi and Jill, her mother Kyoko and father Isamu preceded Linda in death. She is survived by her husband of 43 years Wes; her children Stephanie (Matt) Hamilton, Chris (Wendy) Olson, and Marisa (Dave) Smurthwaite; grandchildren Sierra, Paxton, Trevor, Tristan, Carter, Jordyn, Grayden, Noah, Sam, Oliver, and Eliot; her brother Paul, and many aunts, uncles and cousins. 

Fist-pumps for french fries

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone who reached out to us the past 48 hours to ensure we’re okay given what happened in Paris Friday night. We’re two hours away from Paris by train (four by car) but even at that we’re playing it safe. Case in point, I had considered spending a few days this next week in our Ukraine office, but decided it was better to stay home.   

Okay, this week's update...

After an emotionally and mentally exhausting day yesterday, Dave stumbles out of school and drags himself onto a nearly empty bus - hoping to slump away his 30-minute commute on the very back row. Unfortunately, in attempting to communicate where he needed to go (a necessary step for most bus rides domestic or international), he inadvertently sparks a conversation with the driver. Young, energetic, and obviously of North African descent, the driver speaks with what Dave assumes is a strong Franco-lisp, which unfortunately quickly evens the playing field of comprehension between the two.

“T’es Anglaith?” (You Englith?) the driver kicks off.

“Par-done?” (Huh?) Dave immediately fumbles the ball... but recovers quickly, “Amer-ee-cain. Ça va?” (For anyone that skipped Jr. High French that means "American, how are you?")

“Thuper! Vive la Franthe!” (Super, Vive the France) at which point the driver literally does a seated touchdown dance in his impressively padded throne, taking both hands off the wheel in order to adequately pump-fist three, four... no five times (this is only slightly disconcerting to Dave given the amount of turning required on the small village back roads being traveled in the moment).

Taken slightly aback by the energy given the circumstances in Paria, Dave lamely repeats back “Oui, vive la France... surtout aujourd’hui!” (Yes, vive the France... especially today.). It’s obviously a misstep as it immediately melts the grin off the driver’s face.

In the only sombre :20 that pass between the two, the driver then clearly responds: “Non, mon ami, vive la Franthe touth leth jourth.” (Non, my friend, vive la France every day).

In the end Dave never makes it to the back row, preferring to stand upfront next to Isam (the name of his new friend - derived from the Quran meaning, not surprisingly, “connection” or “bond”). The remaining 27 minutes sees at least two more pump-fist sessions, the most enthusiastic coming when Dave admits to Isam that French food was indeed better its American counter(top)parts.

On a day when the world seemed busy pitting Muslim fundamentalists against the human race, Dave walks off that bus grateful that Isam obviously didn’t associate himself or his faith with any part of the horrendous acts of the night previous. Nor was he busy passing judgement on those that had committed themselves and their lives to what seemed like absolute madness. Instead, he decided to do a little ditty just knowing his french fries are the best in the world.