Monday, October 02, 2006

Stuff I do differently having lived in Europe for over 4 years.

I don’t hurry as much. Pretty much anything can be done tomorrow with the same result. If you call anyone after three pm, you probably won't get a response til the next day, anyhow.

Even though Europeans are more cell phone obsessed that Americans, I find I use my cell phone very little. Anyone who really needs to reach me will leave a message at home. See above, about not being in a hurry.

I cook from scratch. I don’t use packaged foods. I don’t do ‘to go’ dinners anymore. (Mostly because I can’t. There’s very little take away here that is not merely a snack wrapped in bread.)(That being said, I'd KILL for a taco stand.)

I eat WAY healthier. However, I eat ham and pork, now, which is something I didn’t do in the US. If you don’t eat pork products in Europe, you are sometimes hard pressed to find any protein. Especially at breakfast. Ham o rama.

I walk a lot more. I also stop. Just because.

I was middle of the road liberal before I left the US. Now I’ve pretty much crossed that road to the left side. I'm almost off the shoulder.

I sleep with the window open. I MUST have fresh air in the house. Wonder how that will pan out back in Texas?

I tolerate cold a lot better. In fact, I like sleeping in a cool room.

I can do that European scarf thing. And I have a lot of scarves now. Even ‘summer’ scarves.

I understand what a ‘summer’ sweater is for. In Texas they just don’t exist.(A Texan would be all: Summer sweater? Is that like a winter sandal?) Now I actually sort of feel strange in summer wearing just a tank top and not having a sweater. Like, any minute it will snow or something. And I'll be caught out.

I also understand the brilliance that is wool socks. They really DO work in summer AND winter!

Shoes have to be cute AND practical. No more buying them just because they are cute. I also think of snow worthiness. I know, strange, no?

I’m not afraid of calling internationally any more, and I see that it is actually very easy. A lot of Americans think it’s hard or don’t know how.

I don't worry about being murdered in my bed. I do worry about being burgled. Alot.

I no longer fear there will be a roach in every dark corner, as most native South Texans grow up fearing. I haven't seen a roach in 4 years.

I also see now how easy it is to travel. Packing, planning, worrying…..It used to be a big deal. Now? Not so much. If you forget something, you can buy a replacement. If you don’t have it, you can probably do with out. Now I generally tend to not pack enough stuff!

My Southern manners have given way to a more brusque approach. No more saying ‘hi’ to everyone who looks at you for more than a second, like we do in Texas. People here will just stare at you, but won't actually ackowledge your existence even if you say hi. They'll just look away. It’s a bit startling still, at times, but also relaxing as I can just go about my business and ignore people around me instead of making eye contact and saying hi to folks. I just have to remind myself to put my southern manners back on when I go home. (There's a saying, here, that if a stranger says hi to you they are either drunk, insane or an American.)

I’m more self reliant. Norway is a self service kind of country. Ain’t no one gonna do it for you.

I don’t take anything, or anyone, for granted anymore. It can all go away in a minute. Friends move, plans change, your life can change on a dime. Life is not the goal, it's the journey. STop and enjoy the journey. It's the only one you've got.

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