Interlaken, Switzerland; Madrid, Spain; and even Hamburg, Germany were all on the well thought out itinerary for a one-month journey through Europe. It really could not be more perfect: visiting friends living abroad, crashing in their apartments for free and getting a true European experience while living, studying, and working in some of the greatest cities in the world.
The only no-so-perfect thing about this agenda is that it is not my agenda. Instead, it belongs to an old college friend, Amanda, who has been spending this last month abroad.
Now, please do not get me wrong: I could not be more excited for her. But, the more she emails about her travels, the more I realize that life in Europe is much more interesting and exciting than life here. I really wish that I could just hop on a plane, met her in Madrid, join her for tapas, or even the traditional Basque fare at Zalacaín, and then meet up with our friend who is studying politics at the University of Madrid.
On Super Tuesday, a few weeks ago, Amanda was in Tostedt, Germany being interviewed about the U.S. Presidential Primary election by a highly respected German National Television network, NDR. There was the whole “lights, camera, action” deal and she even had a close-up. Her Tuesday was much more super than mine. My close-up was a very unglamorous one, standing in line at the polls to cast my vote in a crowded school lunchroom after leaving work early with a high fever and pounding headache.
Her Wednesdays and Thursdays are more glamorous too—actually every day is better on the other side of the Atlantic. One day, Amanda got to take a hip-hop class with Dennis Jauch, the eighteen-year-old winner of the German version of the popular television show, So You Think You Can Dance. At the same time, I was at my local gym taking a standard cardio-kick step class from an awkward eighteen-year-old who so [wrongly] thought he could dance.
Last weekend, I went out for dinner with another friend (who actually just got back from Morocco) and we enjoyed a nice meal at a trendy downtown Brooklyn Thai restaurant and then went for some drinks. I was feeling pretty cool until I checked my email when I got home and learned that Amanda had gone out with a friend who is a Fulbright Scholar living in Hamburg. She ate döner, a Turkish meat that is actually incredibly popular in Germany, and went bar-hopping in Sankt Pauli, which is considered one of the most famous red-light districts in the world. Afterward, she also somehow managed to out-drink a number of large German men at a party. Suddenly my sexy night out was safe … sigh.
Amanda is now on her way to meet her boyfriend in Interlaken where he will be recording some songs for his newest album. She will be staying with him for a week or so, hanging out in the recording studio and probably meeting a bunch of important individuals in the European music business. I won’t be a bit surprised to hear that when hanging out in a dangerously underground bar, she accidentally wrote a number one hit song on a napkin, and will now be representing Kosovo in the Eurovision Song Contest. I, on the other hand, have plans to download some new songs for my iPod, but since my computer has not been working that well lately, I may just have to settle for the radio.
A true testament to my belief that Europe holds more opportunity for excitement, culture, and fun than good-ol’ Brooklyn does, is that I actually cannot wait for Amanda to get home so I can hear even more details about her journey. Until then, I am traveling vicariously through her emails until my next trip abroad. (It will be a very dramatic and eventful trip and I will be sure to bring my laptop along to keep all my friends in the loop!)