While I was in Europe I took the opportunity to observe people and their lifestyles. This allowed me to also make observations about myself as well as America. One of my favorite things to do is make lists. It's a problem, I know, but it's just so much fun. So in honor of my trip, and my love of making lists, I have made a few lists of what I learned while away.
Things I learned about Europe:
1. Nutella is best on everything.
2. Flights always board late but somehow always get to their destination early.
3. My gaydar only works in America.
4. Free refills is part of the American Dream.
5. Water comes in 2 forms. Specify if you don't want it sparkling.
6. Water is expensive and public drinking fountains are rare or nonexistent.
7. There are lots of 'fish' in the sea. I prefer those that swim around Germany or the UK.
8. There's a lot of bad in the world, but if you look around, there is more good.
9. Europe is a wonderful place where you don't have to tip.
10. Tax is included in merchandise prices.
11. McDonald's is delicious no matter what country you are in. And the menu items vary!
Now, I learned lots of things about individual cities I visited. They need lists TOO!
Things I learned in Berlin:
2. Berlin is maybe the most bike friendly city I've ever been to.
3. I felt extremely safe in Berlin.
4. The people are very healthy and fit.
5. The people remember Germany's past but strive to build a better future.
Things I learned in Paris:
2. Never sit by yourself if you don't want a gross, creepy, and/or old man to bother you.
3. The Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomphe, and Notre Dame are breathe taking and photos do not do them justice.
4. Orly airport is probably the least efficient airport in the whole EU.
5. The French are friendly. Sometimes too friendly.
6. Always wear closed toe shoes. Paris is filthy.
7. Everyone, including the pigeons, are extremely skinny.
8. Anything with cream, chocolate, sugar or carbs should be indulged.
Things I learned in Madrid:
2. Maybe the cleanest city I've been to.
3. Bull fighting is illegal.
4. The food has no spiciness at all.
5. American Tapas= FAIL!
6. The least expensive metro in the EU. (€1.50/ ticket)
7. There are a large amount of Fanta flavors.
8. Personal bubbles are very small and rarely respected.
9. Seafood and Pork are very popular.
10. Most seen chain restaurant? Museo de Jamon (Museum of Ham!)
Things I learned in London:
2. Best fashion I saw on my trip.
3. Cadbury Milk Chocolate is the best.
4. Easiest and most efficient Underground system.
5. 85% of young, eligible young men = GORGEOUS!
6. Not everyone with a British accent is exactly a scholar.
7. The British are very patriotic. The Queen and the Union Jack are plaster on everything.
8. A pretty chubby country. I fit in well.
9. I need to live here.
Now time for some self reflection. This means YOU America!!!
Things I learned about America:
1. We have access to lots of excess resources and luxuries.
2. We are stupid for not using the metric system.
3. The 12 hr clock is actually very confusing. 7am or 7pm? How about 7:00 or 19:00?
4. We need to learn more than one language.
5. Our personal bubbles are large and respected.
6. We are a generally happy and carefree society.
7. Our airport security is extremely thorough.
8. Our chocolate sucks.
9. We have a very short history.
10. We are a very young country and we still have lots to learn.
Now for some personal reflection. These are things that I learned about myself. They might seem trivial, vain or mushy but they are things that I was struggling with before I left.
Things I learned about myself:
1. I am independent.
2. I am confident.
3. I am unique.
4. I am a beautiful person and should appreciate my health.
5. I will be ok.
6. I want to travel more.
7. There are more important things in life than material things.
8. I rely on prayer more than I realized. And it works.
9. I believe in my religion although I am frustrated by some of my fellow members.
10. I want to learn more languages.
11. I have a large support system in my life.
12. I miss American culture but still respect, admire, and appreciate others'.
13. There is value in myself and my skills.
14. I really love (and missed) Mexican food.