August 30, 2002
Life in Europe

(Note: This will be a recurring feature while I am out of the country. I will post observations when they occur to me, so there is no set schedule.)

A few observations about life in Europe, from my own biased point of view, after less than a week:

1) The roads are scary. High capacity roads have exits that are not always clearly marked, and often the exits are confusing. This is before one takes into consideration the language barrier.

2) The weather is surprisingly warm and uncomfortably humid. I was under the (mistaken) impression that summers were pleasant in Central Europe. It's not a blast furnace like Phoenix or a soup bowl like Florida, but it is pretty darn warm.

3) I have never seen so many yellowjackets in my life. They are everywhere, and they seem to prefer the inside of buildings to the outdoors. You've not experienced life until you've tried to shave while dodging aggressive yellowjackets.

On the other hand...

4)The people here are friendly, without being obseqious. I obviously won't be discussing my job or my political views with citizens of my host country, but they are not as hostile to the average American as I had feared.

5) Everything here is CLEAN. Even a moderate-sized American town has a buildup of trash and litter in the streets; that does not appear to be the case here.

6) Almost everyone here speaks at least two languages, and one of them is usually English. I am trying to learn the local language, but it is very nice to be able to converse in my native language in another country.

posted on August 30, 2002 03:54 PM


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