Trekking East: Holiday Edition

Moon rising

I have fancied myself a fairly prolific traveler in the last years, stretching the bounds of my passport and camera across mostly European locales.  I was lucky enough to see sights in Norway, Germany, France, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland, Greece, Egypt, Ireland, and Canada, since 2008.  Each journey has its own set of challenges; in Greece, I wasn’t sure if the protestors from television would overrun my family as we climbed the Acropolis (they didn’t); or in the Czech Republic, I had to try to work as a reporter and snag interviews while not knowing any Slavic languages and having no experience there.  The challenges are what make trips exciting and worthwhile, though…at least in theory.

My troupe’s latest journey set us onto America’s roadways, moving all of our things, by car, from Washington State to Ohio.  Cleveland will be our new home, one that we are eager to embrace and settle into after months of transition from Switzerland to the United States.  But this car journey is an epic feat for even regular drivers, and I hadn’t driven more than a few hours in the four years I lived abroad.  To move us to Ohio would take more than 30 hours of driving time, spread through five long days.

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Southern Migration

If someone were to tell me at any point in my life that on June 4, 2010 I would have bought an ice cream cone for 3.50 sfr in Zurich, awaiting my work permit to allow me to accept a position as correspondent for Swiss Public Broadcasting…I would probably have laughed, smiled, and said, “I guess we shall see…but I doubt it.”

Except here I sit, in Zurich, and the taste of strawberry ice cream is still faintly, and expensively, on my lips.

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New Beginnings..again

Frauenkirche
Tomorrow I start a time as guest journalist at a new division of Bayerischer Rundfunk–this time with the Radiowelt (Radio World.)  My role in each editorial team is often the same: offer commentary, insight or humor to all things American.  Sometimes I get to put an American spin on something traditionally German.  But the longer I stay in Europe, one could–rightfully–pose the question: are you still qualified to give the American perspective, having not been in country for so long?

“Sure!”

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A New City, A New Year

Bye, Cologne
Even temporary homes are homes.  We lived only three months in Cologne, but we all feel a little more like Rhinelanders after that time.  Our land-lady even bought us a crystal cathedral that lights up, all giving us a sense that we will be missed.  But at 9:55 on New Year’s Eve all was to change.  Our plans were made: pack, find our place in the Kinderabteilung (Children’s compartment), and head to Munich.

Four hours later we arrived in Munich, and loaded a taxi.  Our new home was waiting, and, now, the glass cathedral has a new place to glow and spin.

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And the Snow Came Down

Rooftops
I wouldn’t consider myself necessarily a “snow person.”  Then again I am not really a person for any particular weather. (Though 70 degree winter evenings in the desert were amazingly relaxing.)  During college I only had a bicycle for transportation, so like the postal service of old, I would pedal diligently through rain, slush, snow, fog, locusts…anything nature decided to throw at me.

But this is my first Winter in Europe, and soon to be my first Christmas in France, growing to a list of “firsts” for all of us.

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Munich in December

Underway, the Kölner Way

When many Americans talk about seeing Europe, the bulk of these people can be divided into two groups: the tour bus or backpacking crowds.  Some folks spend their hard-earned dough on a blitz-offensive of Europe like the kind seen in “National Lampoon’s European Vacation,” rushing city to city in an attempt to “experience” Europe in an insanely tight time frame.  Rome, Berlin, Paris, London, fly back home.  Others try to backpack through Europe, and spend a lot of time in hostels.  This is a fine option for younger folks, but not everyone.

But our troupe doesn’t fit into those categories.  We are European veterans, having taken our time to see the on- and off-the-beaten-trail sites.  And with a baby, and no car, the list of “Crazy things we have done in life” has just gotten longer.

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