December 21, 2007


I'm missing Europe. There - I said it simply, after trying for quite a while to start this blog in some writerly way. Often, simple is best. It's something I've heard more than once from my European friends and relatives. "You Americans make everything so complicated!" Now, I'm not going to make any sweeping generalizations, I only can speak for my own experience and why I feel I fit in better with the European way of living, on a basic level. There are the more obvious reasons: The attention given to the importance of eating as a social activity, reverence for history and traditions and often efficient ways of dealing with infrastructural challenges. But the smaller things - the ones that catch me off guard or only come to light after I've returned home - these are the things I miss and which make it hard to leave, sometimes. Europeans excel at the art of people-watching and know how to spend time alone, without constant electronic distractions. Sure, they love their cell phones, but they are comfortable sitting at a table by themselves, with a coffee or glass of wine, alone with their thoughts. And they can take their time doing so. No waiter is going to pointedly hand them a check until it is asked for. Ritual is important to them, whether it is the after-dinner schnapps, throwing salt over the shoulder when boiling pasta water, calling home every Sunday - whatever. There are immutable things they cherish and won't reschedule or skip. Walking! They walk, they hike, they move and get outside. We can learn a lot about enjoying life on a more visceral level. Or perhaps, it is relearning that we need to do. Just random thoughts I've had the last days...I wish you the time to do what enriches your spirit, whatever it may be. Cheers!

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