I’ve been home here in the States for about a week. I’ve had to make some mental and physical adjustments. It may seem odd, but being on the road in Europe for sixty days has been very comfortable. Yes, I miss my family, home, pets, and bed…but that’s about it. The life style in Europe is just so much different than the USA. Don’t get me wrong, I love my county and I don’t want to live anywhere else, but Europe does have a certain charm. Each counrty is a different culture and has other ways of dealing with life.Let me give you a few examples:
- During the last few days (while at home) I’ve developed a pretty bad “cold” which I chalk up to me being constantly exposed to air conditioning. Europe does have air conditioning, but it is not like here. Air conditioning can be found in some shop, fine hotels, and restaurants. That’s about it! Outdoor cafes, bars, public places, theaters, train stations, etc. have no air conditioning. People have always lived without it and it is a way of life.
- In the past week, the farthest I’ve had to walk is about 50 yards to my mailbox. Driving (and owning a car) is not that common in Europe. I know some of you would beg to differ having been caught in the hectic traffic of Rome or Paris. But all in all, most Europeans use public transport, walk, or ride a bike. My tour members can attest to the fact to an average walking distance of about six miles a day.
- I have enjoyed iced tea, real Diet Coke, and home cooking here in the last week. Just being able to “drive” to the grocery store, pick up some food, and cook it on my own stove has been wonderful.
- I can still do without ice in my drink, butter on my bread, free refills, and chain restaurants.
- I like water with dinner and I like it with gas (bubbles, carbonated). Many people in Europe drink it this way too. Some believe it has special healing properties and even call it mineral water. Hey, maybe I should be drinking it to cure my cold.
- Fresh vegetables can be found at any market in Europe. If it is not fresh and in season, you can’t get it. We wanted to buy some corn on the cob for a cookout in Tuscany. No one had it…it wasn’t in season and therefore not in the markets. But the TOMATOES were to die for. My granddad used to grow tomatoes in his backyard and we always marveled their flavor. He must have had a little French or Italian in him because the tomatoes were wonderful everywhere we ate them.
I could keep rambling, but you might start telling me to move to Europe! My point is only to make a comparison. Life is different and each culture has something to share with the other. I just happen to be flexible enough to enjoy it all.
I head back to Italy tomorrow. Charlotte and I are taking a week’s vacation in Liguria. Although I don’t relish the idea of getting on a plane for nine hours, I am looking forward to chillin’ out in the Cinque Terre.