Tag Archives: Europe

There’s no place like home….is there?

If you want to know what people in other countries think of our political process, go there and ask.

My husband and I just returned from a visit to Ireland. Before we even got on the plane, I was sitting in the airport chatting with a 20-something lady from  Germany. She intrigued me because she was wearing a “Bernie Sanders” button. After chatting with her for a while, I said:

“You’re wearing a Sanders button, but you can’t vote here, right?”

“Yes, you’re right. I’m going home to Germany, but my boyfriend is from South Carolina and we worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign.”

“So, ” I asked her, “I am so interested in as to why so many people in Europe actually know so much about our politics?”

This is what she said:

“Because it’s hilarious!”she said gleefully with a big smile on her face. ” It’s like watching entertainment. We can’t believe you would even vote for someone like Donald Trump!”

Oh my.

But I figured that was just one young lady. And even though, I agreed that the stand-ups, talk show hosts, and pundits everywhere were practically orgasmic over the Donald Trump treasure chest of material that has fallen into their collective comedic lap, I was hoping that wasn’t the world view.

Or was I? I mean if all the planets completely misaligned on November 8, 2016 and somehow The Donald became The President, what would the world think or even do, for that matter? What would we do? How much comedy could one stand over four years?

But I didn’t have to go on a mission once I reached Ireland. The research subjects came to me every time we got in a taxi. Had I stayed longer in the pubs and drank more of those delicious milkshakes they like to call Guinness, I probably could have published a paper on this learned topic.

As soon as they heard our American accents, the taxi driver had only two questions:

“Where in America are you from?” and “Who are you voting for?”

The whole country was seemingly interested in our take on this dog and pony show we call the Presidential Race. And Ireland was in the midst of their own elections, which were apparently not nearly as entertaining!

One WayWhilst laughing raucously in the freezing rain of Galway, where they hadn’t seen the sun  for a month, the taxi driver chortled: ” and your Mr. Trump wants to build a wall to cut off Mexico, and make the Mexicans pay for it, does he? Does he not know that if the Mexicans had the money to pay for such a grand wall, they wouldn’t be coming to America for jobs? HAHAHHAHAHA!

And that my friends, is how they

“Just have to Laugh……….” in Europe and probably everywhere else!

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

Throw Momma from the Train???

I don’t know why..wait..oh yes, I do….I decided to take my 86 year-old mother on a whirlwind European vacation with us because she said she wanted to go when my sister went last year.

Our thirtieth wedding anniversary was approaching, so of course, why wouldn’t we take my Mom and our adult daughter with us on a 2 week trip to Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Dublin and a few other small towns thrown in? So romantic.

We nixed the river boat tour as too little time in each city and too much  time on a boat, especially since my daughter and I can be prone to sea sickness. What we didn’t realize was that a bus tour meant loads and loads of walking.

I almost killed my mother.

it would have been okay, except every day at least one of this intrepid group of four from age 23 to 86 decided that we should all do the extra tour of the day. And the remaining three did not wish to be unsociable or, God forbid, miss any one little highlight of the tour. Every one of us was pooped every single day. Up at 6 AM or earlier and very late to bed. We were going to have fun, damnit.

We even met up with our older daughter and her fiance in Budapest to add to the romance of 30 years of marriage. I will admit that Nanny passed on the pinball museum that day, which actually may have been one of my favorite pastimes. After walking a billion blocks to the museum in some heavily UNpopulated area, we played pinball for over 2 hours on all kinds of machines from the past eight or nine decades!

And then we got lost in Vienna.

pastryNow, normally i would embrace that. It’s fun to be lost in a foreign city. As long as you feel safe, it’s intriguing to find yourself in areas of the city that aren’t on the tourist map. But it’s downright cruel to keep your 86 year-old mom hiking through the streets of Vienna without a map, a plan, a coffee,a sausage or even a Viennese pastry.

We couldn’t find a taxi, a cafe, or any reasonable place to stop. And we couldn’t abandon her in a park and say we would come back for her because we had no idea where we were leaving her.

As she got redder in the face and was puffing along, I began to get worried. I think I actually broke into a furniture store that was closed when a gentleman came out…I just grabbed the open door and went in to an apparent board meeting. The look of panic on their faces was alarming, to them…not me… I was worried about my Mom.

Kindly, in perfect English, the nice man gave us directions:

“Go up this street until you can’t go anymore, then turn left and you will be at your destination.”

We almost turned left before we couldn’t go anymore….which actually meant running into a stone wall……..and there we were.

We’ve been home a month. We discuss the concerts, the architecture, the tour guide who told us all about living under Communist rule, and how exhausting but amazing the whole vacation turned out to be. But we never once have discussed getting lost in Vienna. I was pretty sure my Mom wasn’t impressed with our trekking across Eastern Europe.

Grand CentralUntil yesterday when she said, “I still want to take a train trip across the entire continental United States.” Cause that wouldn’t be tiring in any way.

“You Just have to Laugh…..”

©2015 Cathy Sikorski