some awesome things about living in europe

Photo by AbhijeetRanei 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:

bill knows how to wear jeans that fit
this guy does not.
and don't even get me started on this.

moving on…

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!

9 responses to “some awesome things about living in europe”

  1. Great write up! Pretty public transport is definitely a perk (now that I’m in Prague I write all in ‘p’s haha)!


  2. I’m sitting here… at work… in awe on your post…. maybe it is not awe alone… I’m baffled / bemused / confused…
    Most you write about is absolutely the most normal thing on earth!
    I hate places with crappy public transport… (did you ever try to get from LAX airport to the city center where the hotel is (super-huge-15-lane-road-without-busstop/trainstation/pedestrian walkway-anywhere-close-by) and then from there for some sightseeing to Hollywood? THERE ARE NO BUSSES IN HOLLYWOOD!!! What the f*** there are so many tourists!! tsss… …even China does better in most places.

    and the good smelling men… you are right. I’ve never really considered it, but yes, Americans don’t really smell usually in any attractive way… and chinese smell usually in an unattractive way to say the least.

    Cafes… yeah.. I missed them in China… and in the US… there’s only Starbucks… in Boston some more.. but thats it. Starbucks. San Francisco Coffe Company. And McCafe of course. But the US usually lacks the idyllic scenery or the spots for people watching.

    The trowsers thing…. unfortunately I cannot quite agree. For many people, ‘specially the younger generations, you are right. unfortunately… my mom… my grandma… nahh… in German we call those pants “high tide jeans” 😉 and believe me if you search well enough you will be able to find the armpit lenth ones as well.

    Last… what’s that about the fear thing… I dont get it… what are you afraid about? Weirdos!
    I consider myself as a rather international European thinker and I’m afraid of
    – spiders
    – bees
    – wasps
    – (ok… to make this shorter, any kind of insects of any size)
    – their babies
    – to miss the train and have to take the bus which takes me 10 min. longer to get home
    – to get cought driving to fast, parking where it’s nice and close to whereever I’m going, but unfortunately usually not allowed…
    – to loose my job
    – thats all…
    – our governments? hahaha… we’re not afraid of them… we’re a mixture of bemused… and annoyed … nowadays 😉


  3. oh that was a long reply… sry… 😉


  4. This made me wish I lived in Europe (well, made me wish I lived in Europe even more than I normally do).

    It sounds heavenly – especially the nice smelling men part!


  5. It all sounds lovely, Megan!

    The last time I was in Prague, I was fast asleep on a rickety sleeper train. You make me want to see the city again!

    My favorite part of life in Hungary was the daily quest for fresh bread, cheese, and fruit. Yum. The food was amazing. You must travel down there if you have an opportunity! Budapest was fine but I loved Szeged, where we lived. I cant believe how much I’ve changed since I was there over ten years ago. I used to have no fear boarding buses alone, hoping they were the right ones. It’s hard to have that same casual attitude in Philadelphia!


  6. If I wasn’t popping out le baby in two months, I would climb on a plane tomorrow to wander around these marvelous pub-cafes with you. It sounds fantastic!


  7. I enjoyed peeking in on your life in ABQ every time you wrote about it, having lived there myself for a few years, and I am now excited to follow more of your posts as you introduce me to living in Europe- something I have always wanted to do.
    Thanks for the insights, as well as the subtle humor that is always appreciated!


  8. @Claudia – very interesting insights about the US from a European perspective!

    @Hannah – I went to Budapest a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it, but I will most definitely take your suggestion and go to Szeged. Thank you!

    @Courtney – you are always welcome, even after Allosaurus arrives!

    @krkilmer – Thanks very much for stopping in and I do hope you keep reading!


  9. Thank youu for sharing this


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