i am so ecstatic to be back in europe. this is my first time living in continental europe, and it feels so freaking good! don’t get me wrong, living in the US has its advantages (readily offered ice water, coffee refills, cheap rent), and so does china (cheap food, cheap beer, cheap everything).
but europe… ah, europe.
over the past couple of days, i have spent a bit of time in thought, mostly because i have a newfound 8 hours of alone time each day, thanks to bill’s wonderful new job at the prague post (which, incidentally, brought us here!). i have rediscovered my ipod, downloaded a heap of new music (thanks largely to a birthday gift from my dad – itunes gift cards RULE) and enjoyed a solitary 12 minutes of thinking time each day on the metro. [tweetmeme]
what i keep coming up with is how, despite my sudden and very unexpected bout of culture shock (more like change shock?) this go ’round, it is just awesome to live in europe. i choose that very american word awesome to drive my point home further, and because, well, it is awesome in that i am ‘in awe’ of it.
why, you ask? (as if you would ask that! everyone knows it’s awesome to live in europe!)
great public transportation. i figured this should be first on my list, since i have ranted a lot about my experiences with public transit in the US. i guess it goes without saying that europe has amazing public transportation, and prague is particularly good in this respect, with not only an underground metro boasting 4 glorious lines of zippy subway bliss, but also countless tram lines that serve most of the city for shorter trips and also fulfill the purpose of looking idyllic on the streets of prague, and finally city buses, which are mostly confined to the outer limits of the city – a welcome respite from the terrible fumes that they would emit in most city centers.
nice-smelling men. yes, this is at the top of my list, and yes, my husband is most definitely one of the nice-smelling european men i have encountered here. european men seem to understand how and what type of cologne to wear. it is fresher and brighter than the soggy scents most american guys don, when they do don cologne, which is usually only for a big night out at the club. europeans wear it to the supermarket.
cafes. the cafes of europe are to die for, and i swear, i don’t care which european city you’re in from dublin to athens, you are going to find cafes. here in prague, the cafe culture is strong and the cafes seem to have gotten themselves mixed up in a dirty love affair with the pubs, creating this unbelievable progeny – a pub cafe. *swoon*
trousers that fit. i hate the word ‘pants’ but i believe it quite accurately describes the abomination that many (most?) americans wear on their lower limbs. many (most?) europeans know how to wear trousers that fit – namely, that they aren’t too baggy in the ass area, they aren’t too wide in the lower leg and they don’t drag on the ground. neither do middle aged women suffer from the phenomenon of “mom jeans”, whereby the jeans have such high waists as to reach nearly up to the armpits and, in the very worst cases, the bottom hems barely fall long enough to reach the ankle bones. *shudder*
just for comparison’s sake, let’s look at some examples:
no fear mongering. this is perhaps my favorite aspect of life in europe. people are not afraid. they are not afraid of a dirty metro station. they are not afraid to imbibe alcohol at lunch. they aren’t afraid of delicious carbs. they definitely aren’t afraid of travelling or learning a new language. and they most certainly aren’t afraid of their own governments (well, nowadays, anyway).
i’m sure i could go on listing dozens more things that are awesome about living in europe, but i will leave it at that for today and remind you: don’t wear bad jeans!