Wednesday, March 26, 2008


My wife is back from the USA, and I have been duly briefed. In ten days, she ate sushi in Los Angeles, got snowed-in in Detroit, shopped like some very efficient Queen Bee in New York City, saw friends, and worked and worked and worked a lot. In the cab back from the airport, she was already making plans for us all to go back to New York for a visit, or to LA for a work-study deal. Sounds like fun--even the snow in Detroit part.

Actually, going back to America even for a quick look sounds so great I don't even want to think about it until I've got the tickets in my hand. I would start to salivate thinking of the cheeseburgers, the light on the buildings, the people, and the sound of the English language all around me--I would swim in it.

How long has it been since I've been back? I don't even know.

Anette says everyone over there is excited about Obama, and excited to be excited about politics again. I wish I was there for that.

But underneath her news and gossip about the US, particularly the New York corner of it, I heard darker things. Mean streets. Sometimes it sounds like people in that city are just holding on by their teeth. Heart attacks, looming evictions, outta-sight daycare costs--all of these fabulous adventures await YOU! if you are not rich and/or famous in NYC. This I don't miss. I'll try to remember that the next time I'm feeling blue about living in a musty dusty capital of Olde Europe.

My life has changed. We have a bathtub and we use it almost every night. Our family is too big to fit inside of a New York City life. And I don't think you should have to be rich and/or famous in order to have a bathtub and a family to put into it.

On the other hand, I hear life in Austin, Texas is pretty goddamn great right now....


Ed Ward said...

Having just been there, I assure you that Austin will be utterly unrecognizable to you. It's been invaded by the most hideous people, all of whom seem to have a overweening sense of entitlement to luxury and waste. There are huge skyscraper condo buildings all over downtown -- mostly empty since the economy is cratering -- and a trip to the new Whole Foods is like going to a zoo populated entirely by people you don't want to know. Hummers in gridlock on Lamar, everything in gridlock on I-35, downtown a construction site that reminds me of Berlin (all because they're building even more skyscraper condos), and nobody can afford the place anymore.

Gardner said...

My wife was talking about going home for a wedding, alone. Man I would be happy for her, but sad for us. I remember exactly how many months ago I saw the US - 18 months. I guess that's not too long. But long enough to miss it.

more cowbell said...

During 6yrs in Hungary, I only went back once, at the 4yr mark. With 3 kids, it was just too expensive. Germany we did in two 3yr periods, we didn't go back during either.

Now I've been back in the States 4 years, and I'd give anything to live out of the country again.

There were things from the US I missed while overseas -- to the point of awful cravings -- but it seemed to eventually fade. Probably being a vegetarian contributed to that -- we can't eat 95% of fast food, ha! I did always miss being able to shop on weekends and after 5 or 6pm on weekdays -- that's hard when you work. On the ohter hand, going back was overwhelming in some ways, like sensory overload.

I was really glad when TESCO came to Hungary, though, and I could get cheddar cheese!

Gavin said...

Come to Los Angeles! Sunshine awaits you all!