Happy Birthday America

It is not the day I celebrate in elaborate fashion; I simply can’t afford it. The much talked about ‘recovery’ and the chance of a new ‘dip’ is concerning me. Living in Los Angeles hides the reality of struggles in the suburbs; Sunset strip and Santa Monica beaches are bustling; although I do see the many empty storefronts for rent and wonder about this false pretense of ‘normality’ – sorry, recovery.

My real estate friend has posted over the last few month his encouraging messages of ‘turned-around’ housing markets and proclaims that this is a clear sign the US economic struggles are past and the housing sales is back onto track to be even busier than before. However, banks are hesitant in lending and the statistics indicate that barrowing has become restricted to very unique individuals with credit scores in the high seven hundreds…

Europe, a leading statistical perspective of the mirror effects that await us in the USofA has kindly rejected Obama’s invitation to infuse more money into their struggling productivity divisions and most European leaders have actually initiated drastic budget cuts in their government sectors causing protest and uproar throughout the EU. The global power nations are re-enforcing loans to be paid and demanding help. We all owe each other, intricate contracts that each party is contesting; no money is available to anyone…

I smile about the ‘double-dip’ comments or the overly ‘positive- encouraging’ sellers trying to cash in on one more chance – a requisite-gesture from the over-inflated dealings of the past: This is the time for creativity, simplicity and a great chance to concentrate on building a solid future from the bottom up. I foresee a difficult future for all the slackers and anyone holding on to the notion that we have ‘survived’ the recent recession might be missing out on the fact that there is another one already brewed.

The question we should ask is a simple one: How can we help each other. To start finger-pointing details or assume ‘non est factum’ is wasting time that should be invested in turning your positive perceptions into future oriented productivity. I find myself recently encouraging friends to be creative, to re-invent their business, to adjust wisely to this economic reality and to ignore the absurd ‘recovery’ theories.

Newly fascinated with bicycle riding, after having joined the ALC 2009, I am convinced that the biking business is the next big ‘green’ fashion-move in the US. Eating healthy, cooking at home and re-using products will be a new standard; we have spoiled ourselves and need to simplify. Friends will rejoin; not by texting sweet messages or sexting endearing pictures – by dinner gatherings, sitting in groups and enjoying one another in the flesh. The solitude of bandwidth-relation-ship has reached a pathetic level of distant and eerily solitude amongst family members. Humanity is low when radiating your brain for hours but never looking into the eyes of another human being.

Regardless of this economy is going to be tough or simply stagnant; We all need to come closer together and help each other. The sensitivity level is too high; work it out. Go outside, pick up an old hobby, wander in the mountains, occupy your mind with beautiful visuals, assist a stranger, share a dream, write a letter or a postcard, volunteer one day a month for a charity, smile at your co-workers… Reject negativity or anyone trying to talk you down; this is the time to move on!

To try and fail might be better than the regret never having tried. Within that spirit I have to accept that people in the Golf region are standing knee-deep in oil infested waters praying to their God that this all end: At least they try… I reckon you pick yourself a hobby with a better chance of success… It’s okay to ‘believe’ strongly, but besides the oil they carry out on their pant leg and shoes, the spirits do little to clean up our mess. Re-invention is the word of the season: Try something new.

To my many supporters that have generously donated to my bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles last month; Thank you from the bottom of my heart. This experience was humbling, beautiful, challenging and foremost fun. I am pulling together a team for next year and will be knocking on your doors again soon.

Chef Raphael

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