Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Europe Post Mortum - Part 1

I've been back in the States for about five days and recovering from jetlag. I've been thinking about my trip and about how my perspective on the US has changed, how I am definitely a different person now and how it's been a bit of an adjustment being back.

The flight back into the United States was a bit hard to handle. 17 hours of travel does that to you. Two things were a bit of a shocker to me, one was hearing English for the first time, everywhere, and with an American accent, and the second was the perspective of seeing how unhealthy us American's are about taking care of ourselves.

Europeans would go wide eyed at our portion sizes and our lack of exercise. And now that I'm back, I'm noticing it as well. I lost weight while I was over there and am just now noticing it as I put on clothing that now fits me better then when I was over there. I feel clearer headed, more peaceful, calmer, more energized. I feel more confident in myself and more self assured. I am now a more extroverted human being in general, chatting with and meeting people overseas was one of my favorite activities. The cultural differences between introductions in many European countries as opposed to here are also becoming clearer.

Here it is easy to make an initial connection with someone, but hard to become friends. In many places in Europe it is the exact opposite, people are cold to you, but they also welcome and smile at American's who want to chat and fast friendships re warm, inviting and unassuming. Basically they don't assume you have an angle for talking with them, or have the inkling thought that you might be an axe murderer.

I miss the small espresso cups and the tiny spoons you use to stir them with. I miss having a digestif after every meal. I miss the public transit, I miss the food, I miss the people. I miss seeing ancient things mixed with a swirl of modern life; old buildings with a Starbucks shop sticking out of the bottom area like a fancy boutique.

It feels good to not be in such an intense situation everyday. I distinctly remember touching down in Minneapolis for my first plane transfer and feeling a breath of fresh air. I was home.

I think I basically am having a bit of the post mortum blues, and a bit of a culture shock bump.

Things I appreciate about America now:
- Air conditioning
- Wide roads
- Hamburgers
- Clean toilets with toilet paper in them
- Friendliness
- Our government, even though it has it's own horrible problems

Things I miss the most about Europe:
- Espresso
- Ancient ruins, cathedrales, buildings
- Italy
- Train rides and public transit in general
- Having really walkable cities
- European cheese
- Seeing super model hot people everywhere
- Being able to change in the middle of a park/beach/store and have no one caring or staring
- Feeling safe just about everywhere

Pictures and a few untold stories will be posted in a while. Hopefully after I'm feeling a little better and less culture shocked.