Since mid-September I have been to London, England; Ahmedabad and Mumbai, India; and Frankfurt, Germany. I’m home now for a few weeks and glad of it! Last week I was in Frankfurt, but for the most part I was in what must be the world’s largest conference facility, making it seem as if I was not in Frankfurt at all. We did have one day in the city (this has been a theme for me lately; one day in London, one day in Mumbai, one day in Frankfurt) and since it was a Sunday, “No one works on Sunday in Germany,” we were told, everything was closed. The zoo was open, though, so we strolled about with darling German families and gazed at somewhat German animals.
Two true travel stories: we had Italian food in India and in Germany and had Indian food in Germany. No, I did not have Wiener Schnitzel. I had the best steak I’ve ever had in my life in Germany and of course, had some tasty German beer.
In Mumbai, as a rifle-toting official checked my passport, he said, in heavily accented English, “Oh, like Mick Jagger?” and it just goes to show you that with a name this close to an obviously world famous star, even when you’re 8,000 miles away from home, you still get the same silly comments. People, in fact, are the same EVERYWHERE.
Friends asked if I feel changed by all this world traveling and in a way I do. I feel, for one, like part of the club of people who have gone places outside the U.S. I also have felt what it is to be American in countries that certainly have opinions about Americans. I have experienced what gives us our bad reputation — the arrogance that we embody as we expect everyone to speak English. It has also been interesting, and not a little embarrassing when foriegners are extremely interested in our politics and our financial situation as a country. My national pride faltered more than once when our hosts hinted (politely) that our country’s leadership (and replacement candidates) were less than ideal.
I also developed enhanced respect for the clients I work with who travel the world on a regular basis — those guys who spend more nights in the air than on the ground, who live out of a suitcase and who keep up with work while not entirely sure which time zone they’re in.
I’m still struggling out of the jetlag coma — more tired after this trip because I slept very little during the time I was away. I’m looking forward to getting back to “normal” — being at home for the girl’s basketball games and fall activities, to going to my son’s college for family weekend, of sleeping in my own bed and taking care of my family.
But a part of me is also looking forward to the next adventure, to adding another country to my list, to seeing how other people in the world live and being humbled by the reminder of the tiny space in the world we occupy.