was the question Hans and Sonja asked me during a Happy Hour conversation.
Between sips of adult beverages, we were exchanging stories and information about our respective countries: Nederland, Finland and the US.
I thought about the question for a moment. “No. I need more space than what I’m seeing in Europe. I would miss America’s National Parks, Wilderness Areas and Monuments.”
With that said, here’s the stats for comparative shopping analysis. There’s 743 million Europeans. There’s 323 million Yanks. Europe is slightly larger than the US as far as landmass goes. There’s a lot of humans milling around here. Europeans notion of personal space is a lot tinier than mine.
Later on when we parted ways, I thought about this question some more. Below are multiple reasons why I don’t think I’m a good fit for Europe. (To my European buddies, the facts are correct according to Google. As usual, I’ll embellish this yarn. Please don’t start WW III over this blog. Unfortunately, America has a President with an itchy nuclear trigger finger)
I would have to take up smoking. Nearly twice the number of Europeans smoke compared to Americans. (29% to 15%.) Yet, most Europeans live longer than Americans.
I would have to up my caffeine allotment. Europeans swill endless dainty cups of espresso/day and night. On a world wide basis, the US comes in 16th in Java consumption.
I would have to grow a hipster beard and start sporting a Boy Bun hairdo. (No stats on the next few reasons).
I would have to wear a scarf regardless of the weather or the season.
I would have to relearn how to eat. A European will clutch their knife at all times. They poke, plod and shovel food around with it. A sort of multi use tool. Americans only use a knife as a cutting instrument or to butter bread. Most of the time, a knife is in stand-by mode.
I would have to wear garments that are not quite long enough to be pants but too long to be shorts.
I would have to shift my daily schedule by becoming a creature of the night. No more early to bed early to rise. I would have to-“Sigh!” - burn daylight by sleeping in.
I would have to learn lots of languages. The Swiss people use four languages in a country the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined. English is already a second language to me the way I get tongue tied at times.
I would have to give up my trail runners and flip flops. I would have to purchase real leather shoes! I have not owned a pair since the late 80’s. I would have to start dressing age accordingly.
Here’s the toughest thing I would have to change. I would have to slow down. No one has ever said, “Faster than a European Nano-Second.” The Europeans don’t move all that fast. (Except when they are driving!) I say Americans move at the speed of money. That’s fast.
All in all, I just couldn’t make all these paradigm shifts to become a true European. I barely fit the standards of being a typical or normal American. To quote Eddy Vedder of Pearl Jam fame, “I changed by not changing at all.”
Alas, I’ve been this way for a long time. It’s my comfort zone.
I’ll be Stateside soon. However, I shall return to Europe next summer and fall. Like I’ve said so often in this blog. It’s cool being in Europe!
Cheers from beautiful, rugged Madeira on my 63rd birthday.