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I am so happy to be a part of this world right now. The underlying knowledge that I am part of a scheme much bigger than I could ever imagine has been reawakened by the events of the past few months. Tasting other cultures in Europe, and seeing how eagerly they are following the big election happening at home in the United States, turning to us for hope in an uncertain world, and then watching the world rejoice when America set its deep-rooted racism aside to elect a black president – this all just seems surreal, but at the same time, it feels like all the things I fought for as an activist are finally starting to come true.

We returned yesterday from almost two weeks of pure “me time” in Europe. I lovingly refer to our first vacation together as Euro Trip ’08.

There are lots of stories from this trip, both good and bad. The trip there was fine. I listened to the Ting Tings (“That’s Not My Name!”) and “Banquet” by Bloq Party and maybe even some Lily Allen before falling asleep for most of the flight. We landed early in the morning in cloudy (but surprisingly, NOT rainy) London.

Top 10 Things I Learned After Euro Trip ’08

1. Mind the Gap!
2. They’re NOT elevators. They’re “lifts.”
3. In big, scary haunted houses, American “Yanks” will always be expected to lead the way into the darkness.
4. If something is crazy, it is “bloody mental.” This can refer to either people or situations. Used in a sentence:

“If you expect ME to lead the way into that big, scary haunted house, you’re bloody mental!”

5. What’s cooler than being cool? Being “wicked.”
6. They love cheese. And all this time I thought it was just a stereotype!
7. There’s nothing wrong with drinking a whole pint of beer with your lunch.
8. The Brits want Obama to win the election. Watch this little gem of adult humor if you don’t believe me.
9. Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey is BIG in Europe. I wasn’t expecting that! Kentucky bourbon, however, doesn’t even appear to have made its presence known. I felt like a traitor at the bar we visited… very disappointing 🙁
10. European television is weird. Anything goes. Which makes it WAY more entertaining. While flipping through the channels, we discovered Bill Bailey’s Drum ‘n’ Bush and German Hokey Pokey

We experienced ridiculous turbulence on our flight back home, including the entire six hours we were soaring high above the Atlantic Ocean. Then, during our connecting flight from DC to Kentucky, we were stuck flying through thunderstorm clouds the entire time. At first, Rafael was excited because he wanted to experience what it was like to fly through a stormcloud. After about two seconds, we both looked at each other and agreed: not fun.

This also spawned me to think of a Top Ten List of Songs You’re Most Likely to Hear on a Plane That’s Crashing. (Random? Yes. Wildly inappropriate? Of course. But so am I…) If you’re wondering, the list included “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” by John Denver and “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” by Fall Out Boy, among others.

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