23.5.06

So What's Different?

I didn't really try to guess what it would be like to come back to the States before I got here. Given the way work has been, I barely had time to stuff everything into my suitcase, shower and hop on the plane.

So I'm sitting here on the couch, fat cat Randy sleeping on the chair, watching Schilling shame the Spankees at Fenway (all is right in the world!) and chatting with some friends on the internet. Some observations on being back in the US:

1. Americans are loud (laugh away, M., there ya go, I said it!).
Quite honestly, when I landed in Philadelphia I was a little in shock. It didn't help that it had been such a long travel day and I was already jet-lagged but what a racket! Compared to Munich airport, which is about as loud as a university library, Philly was loud, in your face and disorderly. "wazzup girl? where you comin' from? daaaayuuuum! 4 months in europe? you go girl! i like a career lady!" Imagine someone saying that at German customs!

2. I have mastered the Swiss stare.
Everything was cause for staring and stare I did. The SUV's on the highway. Those Escalades could eat 4 Smart cars for lunch. The clothes. Baseball caps everywhere. White running shoes with slightly too short and too tight blue jeans. Snap-on men's helmet hair. Tattoos in abundance. And was that really food in the food court? What else could I do? I stared.

(grrr Foulke)

3. My Clothes.
For all my earlier ranting and raving about European (especially German) clothes, my style has changed a bit. One last shopping spree with my new shopping friend Claudia in Munich before I left and I had several complete Euro-outfits. You know, the funny little sport shoes, white cowboy boots with the jeans tucked in, and most importantly, the Army jacket. When in training in Chicago, I went out the last night and spent most of the evening with the Germans from our company. As we were dancing, I looked around and counted no less than 5 Army jackets in our group. A year ago I would have been laughing at the silly German Army jackets.

4. Food.
I always liked the food in Germany, right from the get go. M. is an amazing chef and he pulls together the best ingredients into the tastiest dishes. Now that I have been living there, I have been doing some of the cooking too and I like buying fresh ingredients and making simple but delicious meals. I went to the grocery store yesterday and it was like I got sucked into a time warp. After several hours of walking around marveling at all the stuff in one place and foods I had forgotten about, I came out with only a few fresh ingredients to make a risotto and an aspargus side dish. Risotto, a block of parmesan cheese, shitake mushrooms, sundried tomatos, asparagus, parma and white wine. No boxes, no mixes. That simple. And it was delicious! Don't even get me started on restaurant quantities and food prep. Somehow I feel like restaurants treat us like animals being led to a fattening trough. Keep eating.. keep eating..it's triple fried.. and have as much as you want!

Now don't get me wrong. All in all, America is beautiful and it is great to be back for a visit. Nothing is better than seeing my family - my four grandparents, my aunt C., my parents and everyone's crazy cats. Wish I could see my sis too but she didn't make it down from Maine this time.

Even so, I can see that in only 4 months of living in Europe, speeded along by my German boyfriend, I have changed enough that I can see America from a different perspective. It doesn't look better or worse, just different.





Randy's still the same.

Posted From Connecticut

3 comments:

kj said...

now dont complain about the food until you try my cooking!!!

gotta say i loved the grr foulke side comment... though most of your readers wont get it... makes me smile!!! (and want to strangle him...)

Kyle

Expat Traveler said...

Even though I'm back, I still can't get over the differences and hate the changes. I just long to be back but don't know how long it will take to do so! All in all, I'm impressed with Europe all the way.

Berlinbound said...

I enjoyed reading your observations from America (NY Yankee-bashing aside)... and thanks for stopping by ...
Best,
Richard