As I sit here out side of the Panera Bread on Diversy, I can almost recapture the moments of sitting at a street cafe in Rome, just watching life casually stroll by....
Almost.... The number of people hurriedly walking by is less here than in Rome. The number of people stoping to stare at the sights is of course non-existent here on Diversy, I guess the intersection of Diversy and Lincoln isn't quite as impressive as Trevi Fountain. And the sound of cars driving by and the occasional siren from an emergency vehicle leaves a bit to be desired in terms of atmosphere. Although I doubt that I could have sat in front of the Piazza Navona and wireless access the internet. Never mind the homeless man yelling at traffic as he casually strolls in front of hit hauling his shopping cart, complete with mop, garbage bags (of who knows what) and television.
I was talking to one of my friends (Andrew) briefly yesterday about Europe, and he was commenting that it was so beautiful, and different than the states, that 'you could just move there I would have to disagree. I spent a total of 5 weeks in Europe (4 in Barcelona, 2 days (each) in Rome, Paris, London, and Prague) And while I loved the time there, and I'm planning to return to Europe next summer (Italy, Czech Republic, and Germany - if you're interested let me know). I was very glad to get home, not just because I hadn't been in my apartment for 3 weeks, but I was just tired of being away from things which were just different there.
It's true what people say, it is a different pace in Europe, things open and close at weird times, there are small cultural difference which it just gets annoying to think about after any amount of time. It's nice to be back in the states where you know, 7-11 and Wal-Mart are open all night. You know that everything is open on the weekends; everything stays open during lunch time. It was so annoying to have to think about what time of day it was or what day of the week when you wanted to stop into a little shop. I don't have time for that shit. It's retail/service you should be open. Just one of those little things you don't think about when it's here, but the second it disappears you know how much you depend on it. Not to mention the fact that my PCS phone doesn't work in Europe (granted that's my fault I could have a GSM phone which would work in the UK) it was weird not to have a phone on me at all times, never mind how addicted I've become to the internet (even the limited WAP version my phone provided. Every hotel I was in in Europe which even had internet access charged extra for it, with was weird. Even the Frickin Marriott at London-Heathrow, the room was almost $300 for one night for fuck's sake I think $30 for 24 hours of high speed is a bit much, don't you?
As I mentioned above it was an awesome trip, one that many people never get the opportunity to take, so I am grateful for the opportunity, and all of the amazing history, art, architecture, and people I got a chance to see/meet. And I'm going back so let me know if you're interested. I've never been a big person for traveling by myself, but I will take this trip by myself next summer if necessary. There's too much out there to see.
I was never sold on the whole Europe thing, all through school, I never really looked into studying over there, because I figured ehh a bunch of old stuff, no big thing. And I don't want to sound like one of those pretentious travelers here, but it's true. You just can't really explain/get it with out experiencing it. It's such a rush to be somewhere so far from anywhere you've ever been, to see and experience all of those new things, it's truely an amazing experience. I can't stress enough, if you ever have the opportunity to go, GO, don't think, just go. When I was told I should go over I wasn't as, as excited as I should have been, I figured that if I had the opportunity to go on the company dime I had to take advantage, if nothing else I got my passport paid for... But once I got over there (and Barcelona was my least favorite place of all the places I visited) it was an experience different from anything I'd ever experienced.
Wow that got really long, my battery is about dead, if they could only get Wi-Fi not to eat batteries. Good for you if you read the whole thing.