Thursday, September 11, 2008

Why Europe?

It seems, as I go about telling friends and acquaintances that I'm moving to Europe, or specifically to the Netherlands, they typically have one of two questions. One is, "you can smoke pot there, right?" The other is, "why would you want to move to Europe?" I'll address marijuana in a later post after I do more - umm - research - on the subject. As for why Europe, well -- let's just say it was my destiny:
I got this in a fortune cookie maybe a week before discovering the job opening at Philips. Or, to be accurate, before my wife discovered it. I know, I know, this is just the Chinese vocabulary on the back of the actual fortune. But, the so-called fortune, like so many, is merely a saying, or in this case, a command: "Restrain yourself from intruding into other's businesses. [sic]" Obviously, as in all matters superstitious, I ignored the part I didn't like and focused on the bit I did want to hear. And then I finally found a way to live in Europe.

Europe has been a favorite place for my wife and me to visit over the past 10 years (since way before we were married, btw). We've been lucky enough to have friends to visit in France, Germany, and Switzerland, and to have experienced their weddings in a French chateau and on the lonely Italian coast of Cinque Terre. We have made at least a half-dozen trips, including one that touched the little ville of Upavon, in Wiltshire, UK, where I lived for two years as a young lad. I had a brilliant British accent then, but blimey, it's all gone to pot now.

Meredith and I have mused that when we visit Europe, we tend to visit "medieval Europe," spending our time wandering old, pedestrian city centers and touring castles. We have never visited suburban Paris, where real people live and work (no offense to our awesome Parisian friends who are definitely real and who live in the 15th). What I mean is that our visits tend to focus on sights and food rather than true modern culture -- hey, we're tourists, what can I say? So, we have been wanting to live in Europe, to mingle with the real people and their modern European culture. So, doggone it, we put our mind to it, and here we go! Expat Europe ahoy! My fortune is coming true!

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