Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little America

Many, many people ask me when I'll either: a) visit, or b) move back to the States.  My new response to them will now be: "why bother when all I need to do is go into Germany to get my American fill!"

My first trip "home" (aka. my mom's house in Germany) was in October.  At that point I had been in Europe for a year and a half and had fallen in love with the continent.  I also accepted the fact that no matter where I went, besides the UK, everything but certain TV shows, movies and songs broadcast on radio and television would be in a language foreign to me.

I was not ready, that first trip home, to feel like I was outside of the continent.  But, just like a tornado dropping a 1000 lb cow at your doorstep, it struck me when I turned on the car radio - I was not in Kansas Germany anymore.   The DJ was speaking in English... American English with American news.  I looked at my mom, I looked at the radio, I looked at my mom again, I looked out the window - just to try to figure out where in the world I was.

Over Christmas I got a temporary pass to go onto all army bases within Germany, since my mom is now a contractor at one of the on-base medical centers. I stared wide eyed at the civilian family members in their sneakers and sweatshirts, each one speaking with highly distinct American accents.  I watched in shock as large cars drove down the narrow streets. But the biggest surprise came when we went to a commissary on another base.  It was, what I dubbed, little America.  As soon as we reached the parking lot a giant black SUV drove past us with a large Raiders sticker on the window.  The commissary was the size of 4 football fields, housed a range of disgusting fast food chains (which I haven't missed), and had the army equivalant of a Super Walmart.  Needless to say, with the prospect of hundreds of items for sale in US dollars with no additional tax, I ran to the doors.

Although living near Little America has it's perks and may squash fleeting moments of nostalgia, I'm quite grateful I live in an area where it actually feels like I'm in Europe.

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