things i learned

While abroad in Paris, London, the Czech Republic, and Barcelona, I learned many things about cultures different from my own. Since I returned home to Texas, my family and friends have been asking me about my time in Europe. Is it true that Parisians walk around town with an armload of hot, fresh baguettes? (Yes, especially at lunchtime.) Was British beer the most delicious we had ever tasted? (Sadly, no. Washington State’s beer reigns supreme.) How did you get through the rural areas of the Czech Republic without knowing the language? (Luckily, we managed to find a couple of English speakers.) What color was the Barcelona beach water? (Mostly blue, with a tinge of green. And very, very clear.) Well, I have compiled a top-ten list of my most surprising discoveries:

  1. Certain Parisian stereotypes are absolutely true: Men and women, as a whole, are very skinny. However, I suspect it is due mostly to their chain-smoking and alcohol-imbibing habits, not their responsible diets. With all of those appetitite suppressants, how can they possibly eat dinner?
  2. To the French, the English phrase “I see you” translates to “I understand your innermost self.”
  3. French food can get boring. Shocking, but true. Any spice, especially anything hot, is used with extreme caution or not at all.
  4. Londoners are actually very nice people. (Apparently their reputation says otherwise?) Also, they are very tall people!
  5. In the Czech Republic, it is perfectly acceptable, even encouraged, to drink beer at as early as ten in the morning. Yes, even on a Sunday. (Before mass? After mass? Good question.)
  6. In Czech, there are about ten different meanings for the word prosím, including 1) Please, 2) Here you are, 3) You’re welcome, 4) What did you say?, 5) I’ll have… The list goes on (and on).
  7. Czech food mostly consists of meat and bread dumplings, not meat and potatoes. Maybe potatoes are more of a German thing?
  8. Catalan and Spanish are not at all the same language. Seth and I shared a hostel room in Barcelona with a couple of girls from Buenos Aires, and they admitted they could not understand a thing.
  9. Squid ink does not really taste like anything. It is jet black and kind of creepy looking, but it is actually very mild on the tongue.
  10. I want to live in Barcelona. I want to live there really, really badly.
Also! As an extra treat, I have finally uploaded photos from the rest of my trip. To see pictures from the Czech Republic, click here:
To see pictures from Barcelona, click here:

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