Monday, September 24, 2012

525,600 minutes

Who knew a year could pass this quickly? Returning is almost intimidating, so I'll start small.

Here are some of the things I've learned this year:

North America is not the centre of the universe.

It's nice to come from Canada and other people tend to think it's nice, too.

If you're reading this from a first world country, you won the geography lottery. No matter how bad the economy may seem, by virtue of where you were born, you have a zillion opportunities that the rest of the world doesn't have.

You can go almost anywhere in the world for weeks at a time with one small carry-on bag.

If you're ever in Doha, you should try to talk yourself into the Business Class Lounge.

Swiss weather forecasting is remarkably precise. They say things like, "It will rain on Sunday between 7 and 9 p.m." And it does.

A popular Swiss activity is cow fighting.

Europeans have much longer holidays than North Americans, and they tend to take them all.

Try not to visit Europe in August, when most Europeans are taking their holidays.

I don't know if my heart will ever recover from sitting beside a sick child in a malnutrition hospital in rural Zimbabwe.

Mountains look different in every light.

I hope electronic devices really don't interfere with a plane's navigational devices because most people are absolutely addicted to theirs and I suspect they leave them on in flight.

I occasionally forget what language is spoken in the country I'm in and say thank you in a foreign dialect.

The 24 hour clock makes a lot of sense and is less confusing. Dinner at 20:00 anyone?

It takes 6 months to settle in and a year to make friends of any intimacy.

The quality of food in Europe is better. Here, fast food is a gruyere sandwich with dijon mustard on a freshly baked baguette.

Air France has the best food of any airline. Swiss doles out chocolate at the end of the flight and you can take as much as you want. All the passengers on Aerolineas Argentina clap on take off and landing.

Switzerland is so expensive it makes everywhere else look cheap, even London.

The cure for jet lag is staying awake until it is bed time in that country. Afternoon naps will kill you.

I always have a box of emergency Kraft Dinner in the house.

Never underestimate the restorative powers of brushing your teeth on a long flight.

Despite being the perfect candidate for a Kindle, I can't bring myself to give up paper books...even though I found myself in rural Bangladesh with only the 600 page Steve Jobs books and realized that I hated him after 200 pages.

Google translate is amazing.


Anonymous said...

You forgot one. Deep, heartfelt belly laughs can be found anywhere, even in the worst situation when you're with your best friend. :)

These belly laughs tend to always be about a dog for some odd reason...

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you wrote something and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Thank you for gracing us with these amazing tidbits that you've experienced in the last year. Explains the glow on your face everytime you kindly visit us :)