Short, mundane list of pros and cons – Europe/USA

7
Aug
2014

Now that I am back from my trip, I may try to spend a little more time blogging on a regular basis (but am making no promises). I had such a wonderful time on my trip, and my friends in Amsterdam are all suggesting I move there. I have to admit it is tempting. As such, I started compiling a list of little pros and cons to each, in no particular order. If you have items to add to the list please do so in the comments, I would love to hear them.

1. Fruit – Europe wins hands down. The fruits and veggies may LOOK better in the US, but as with so many things here, it is style over substance. European produce tastes way better than all but the most expensive and rare organic stuff you find here.

2. Warm water and plumbing – USA, by a mile. For the life of me, I can’t understand what is so technically difficult for Europeans to grasp about mixing hot and cold water in a steady way. Whether it is Holland or France or the UK, you would think it was a secret as hard as splitting the atom. Here in the US, when I set the temp to something between freezing cold and boiling hot, it stays where I put it. There, you are never in a steady state, but only on your way to scalding or freezing, which gives you a window of a few seconds to wash before injury.

3. Socializing without stressing – Point Europe. In the US (NYC at least), it often feels that we are scheduled for small windows to do any socializing, whereas in Europe (continental at least), things seem to take their own amount of organic time, and people do not seem so over-scheduled. A dinner or picnic (when was the last time I had a picnic in New York?) with friends can last several hours, and people are genuinely relaxing. Here it often feels as if people are checking something off a list, and in a hurry to get to the next thing.

4. Laundry – 
USA, definitely. Maybe related to the technical difficulties above, Laundry seems easier to accomplish here, and cheaper (whether doing it yourself or sending it out). Although the amount of machine drying we do may reduce the useful life of our clothes.

5. Service – 
USA is definitely way better, but we also pay through the nose for it.

6. Health Care – 
This isn’t mundane at all, is it? Europe wins hands down. It is cheaper, better quality in most situations (with better overall outcomes), and universal.

There are, of course, tons of others. These just come to mind because they were subjects and experiences that came up in the course of my trip last week. Feel free to add your own down below, this could get interesting…

Amsterdam Pride

3
Aug
2014

I have been treated to a really fantastic first gay pride weekend here in Amsterdam. My friend Huw invited me to join him on his friend’s boat for an unparalleled view of the parade, which (this being Amsterdam after all) is completely on boats, making their way through the canals. After the parade, we met up with Xavier and several new friends for a night of drinks and dancing which ended at about 5am this morning. We grabbed a few hours worth of shut-eye and then had a relaxing picnic in the park with a group of about 17, including just about everyone I know here. One of the things I have found to be so great about Amsterdam is how much more seems to happen in groups here, and how open-hearted and friendly everyone seems to be. My friends have been trying to convince me that I ought to move here, and I have to admit to be very tempted indeed by the treatment I have been receiving. Amsterdam is really one of my favorite cities anywhere.

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Amsterdam by Boat

2
Aug
2014

I am in Amsterdam at the moment for a week’s vacation and having a fantastic time. Everyone is so friendly and warm, I always feel more welcome here than just about any other city I know. Yesterday, my friends Stijn and Alexa invited me for a a little tour of Amsterdam on their boat. I have taken a couple of official boats tours before, but they could really not compare to this. Stijn really knows the inns and outs of the canals having lived here for so long, and we had a lazy day of great conversation, snacks, drinks, sunshine and a little swimming. About halfway through we picked up Huw for lunch and then made our way back to the docks, where we said our goodbyes to Stijn and Alexa and took the tram to the center to check out the Drag Queen Olympics, which are part of the Gay Pride celebrations in Amsterdam this weekend.

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