The more that we travel to Europe, the more that it has become noticeable. That feeling we get when we return home and realize how much we miss just about everything from wherever we just came from (well, aside from our bed and very large bathtub). It seems like we barely settle back into our apartment and normal life routine, and those post-European blues creep right in.
Probably where we notice it first is with food. I don’t think that I need to even explain myself here, but really, the food is so much better across the pond. There is not only an importance on eating fresh and homemade, but also on eating what is in season. You won’t find any avocados from Mexico, or oranges from Florida while walking through a market in France, and it is for good reason. If you eat what is in season and was locally produced, it is going to taste far better than something imported.
Time seems to be neither something that encumbers nor limits people. Never have I noticed someone running or power-walking from one shop to the next. In fact, quite the opposite (unlike me who is often trying to crunch in one too many errands). When people bump into friends on the street or in the store, they stop and chat with each other as if they have nowhere else to be. And when people go out to eat, there is definitely no such thing as a “power lunch” or an “express meal.” Things just seem to happen when they do.
Things that are old hold great value- old buildings, old traditions, old wines, old cheeses, skills that have been passed down from generation to generation, and even the elders of the family. There isn’t the same desire for new and modern like there is in the United States. You don’t see the French knocking down one old building just to replace it with a newer and flashier one. The cobblestone streets are not covered with pavement, and there generally seems to be a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” kind of attitude.
It is probably the sum of all of these things, along with the culture, the history, the people, the “work to live, not live to work” attitude, and so many other small quirks that make our European adventures feel so special. And also what makes me miss being there so much.
But regardless of where we are, and regardless of my blues, the truth is that we feel very blessed. Blessed to live such a beautiful life here in San Diego, and blessed to be able to travel abroad. Have I often dreamed of living in Europe? Well, yes, I have. But for now, we have the best of both worlds. A great life here, and time spent traveling that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Until next time Europe.