I had this thought while writing about Barcelona the first time, but that eMail was tomeic enough, so I decided to hold off.
I had a little relapse into the excitement of Europe while I was there. I was invited to a dinner party the Saturday night (official start: 21.00; first course: 22:45; last drink and exit to the first bar: 01.45 - Spanish agendas are hard on us Northerners.). There were seven guests: two Spaniards, two Frenchmen, an Irishman, the multinational and multi-lingual host and me. As I was there, the American shame dictated that all common conversation was in English. When in Spanish, I could understand nothing, but the Irishman enough to get by; when in French, our roles reversed.
As conversations morphed and splintered off between topics and parties, they passed from one language to the next. It felt so foreign and unfamiliar, so distinctly not home. This is a feeling that has dwindled while living in Europe; it doesn't feel nearly as exotic or monumental to get on a plane and be in Rome, Berlin or Amsterdam in 120, 60 or 30 minutes as it does to hole yourself up for twelve hours, trying to sleep overnight, dozing off in one world and waking in another. It's thrilling to get to travel to so many places relatively easily, cheaply and frequently, but it can't be escaped that the thrill is unavoidably diminished by doing so. You become sort of a travel junkie, having to go farther and to less convenient places to get the same high - China, Australia, Brazil, Zambia - after a while, a long weekend in France starts to sound like a long weekend in Ohio.
Disapropos, I helped a lady get an ambulance yesterday! She was walking and just tripped and fell over forward, hard (kind of like you, Lottie!). Unable to brace her fall, her face smashed into the sidewalk of Commercial Road and she started bleeding all over. She was totally dazed, so I helped her sit up, asked if she needed assistance and called 999. Bit crazy to see someone go down like that rather than being the one tripping, but now I know how you all feel hanging out with me!
OK, it's the weekend - HOORAH! I am off for TVpalooza in Crystal Palace with the Watkinsons (less one) - have a great weekend, all!
Shaun H. Coley
Shadwell, Tower Hamlets
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