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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The Zoo and the Parenting Game

It comes over you immediately after disembarking the subway–the pressure to maintain your cool as the Parenting Game begins.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to play.  It doesn’t even matter if you don’t know there is a game going on. 

But as the groups of families and friends rush faster and faster toward the exit, hoping to be first to pay 9 Euros to enter the zoo, you realize there is something odd here.  People stare you up and down, judging you with their eyes.  They look at your baby stroller and then look at their own…they must have spent 1 or 200 Euros more on their stroller and smirk with superiority.

Visiting the zoo is supposed to be a time to relax and observe animals in their natural (man-made) habitats…but our visit today turned more into a sad study into the human condition.

Our trip to the zoo was prompted by a few things, the most important and relevant being our young man’s newly-found interest in animals, and communicating with them.  See a bird, and want to say something? “Caw, caw” he’ll answer.  See a lion? “Rawr.”  And perhaps you see a dog, or any other animal? “Bow wow” is the default, universal language for all things animal.

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Munich in Spring

Schloss Nymphenburg
Transition often brings reflection.  In relationships, career, life in general, change always brings an unsure, but steady, tone to our worlds–to the personal universes we live in.  The seasons are a perfect representation of a world in flux, and for me always bring yet another hushed moment to ruminate and muse.

With this Spring I will have experienced all 4 seasons in Europe.  That seen only on a calendar means little…but in reality, I consider it a feat worth noting.

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Back to Reality

I saw a homeless guy this morning..I have seen him before.  Often he has a shopping cart with 4 or 5 suitcases on it.  He dresses in brown…or maybe his suit jacket is just covered with the product of months or years of street life.  He had no suit cases this morning.  He sat against the base of a concrete box in the train station, rocking with his hands between his thighs for warmth.

My cheeks were pierced with cold, so his must’ve been numb–his beard looked thin and disheveled, not helpful.  His rocking was sad…his posture like a vertical fetal position wishing for the comfort of the womb.  I walked into the pastry shop nearby.  I wanted a quick breakfast on my way to the radio station, but I couldn’t buy my food without thinking of this man’s rocking; a gentle back and forth struggling for warmth.  I bought myself 2 pastries, and put another in a separate bag.

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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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Munich in December