Around the dinner table, during coffee breaks, on long garden walks, and over hot kitchen stoves, we’ve been talking. Here we meet in Berlin, Toby and I and his parents, all transplants from sunny southern California, now living in Asia and Europe. And repeatedly the conversation turns back to comparisons: how convenient life was in the States while here it takes hours to get any errand accomplished; the greater access to culture and history and ease of travel in Europe; the unparalleled food and low cost of living in Thailand; transparency on one side, polarized politics on the other; to-die-for fashions and dreamy weather juxtaposed against injustices and stilted freedoms.
We see America differently from having lived abroad, now appreciating some things we used to take for granted, yet also taking taking advantage of other things we previously could not access.
This trip to Germany is not my first, but I’m getting the sense it will be a first. It’s my first time coming here after living in Asia. Where once, from the perspective of a flight from LAX to Tegelhof, stepping on German soil felt exotic and foreign, now it feels comfortingly familiar – so much so I’m often caught by surprise by the fact that I don’t speak the language and that I have to re-learn basic things like how much to tip and to stop smiling so much at strangers.
And this trip to Europe will actually be my longest stay in Europe yet. Instead of just popping by, I’m getting an opportunity to truly immerse. You orient yourself differently when you know you will be in a place for just a few days versus several weeks. It’s a different way of traveling; a different way to be.
Henry Miller once said, “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
I wonder whether and how a month in Eastern Europe will change my way of seeing. Already I begin to sense the addition of more cultural milieus into my thoughts, awareness, and orientation. I begin to sense that the more you’ve been everywhere, the less you begin to fit in anywhere.
But that’s okay. If the world is a book, I’d prefer to read the whole story, not just one page.
but by the moments that take our breath away.”
- Author Unknown
What moments stole your breath away this week?
Each Thursday, we come together to celebrate living life with intention by capturing a glimmer of the bigger picture through a simple moment. Have you found yourself in such a moment lately? Share it with us!