I just returned from three weeks out of the country (Switzerland, Italy, and Germany; some work, some vacation); thanks to Joe for more than capably holding down the Blog-Lebo fort in my absence.
As always when I come back from a trip out of the country, I'm struck by the enormity of the cars that Americans drive (not just the SUVs, but almost all of them), by the utter inadequacy of our public transit, by the recklessness of our auto-centric 20th century real estate development, by the opulence and waste that characterize all but the very most modest food emporia, and by the sheer new-ness of everything, including "old" cities like Pittsburgh and "old" suburbs like Mt. Lebanon. Some Lebo residents wax nostalgic about the 1970s or 1960s. Ha! Last Saturday and Sunday my family joined several hundred thousand citizens of Munich in an outdoor street festival that took over the better part of the Altstadt (Old City) to celebrate the *850th* anniversary of the city's founding. There's history for you.
I'm also grateful for the luxury of the political, cultural, and religious diversity that Americans usually enjoy and for the celebration of individual liberty that defines this country. Compared to the United States, Germany in particular is a magnificently and precisely engineered society, but I never feel as completely free there as I do here. I miss the
beer already, but I also missed the over-the-topness of the Fourth of July. Aside from the utter disaster that is the Charlotte Airport (what was US Airways thinking? Philadelphia *and* Charlotte as hubs?), I am very, very happy to be home.
Labels: and the weather cooled off just in time