Hey, how have you all been?

I’ve been okay. I haven’t been doing much, really. I was sick for two whole weeks in April, and that sucked, but I’m better now. After I stopped being sick, I went to Europe for two whole weeks with my husband, because it’s our 20th anniversary this year, and we decided to go to foreign countries where I don’t hate the food. Ha ha, just kidding, Japan. (I don’t really hate your food, at least not all of it.) I will now say nice things about food in Japan: 1) Hiroshima-style okinomiyaki is the best. 2) The Japanese are much better than Americans at making salad. It’s true! 3) Japanese curry is delicious and I could eat it several times a week, probably, because I actually think I did do this while I was there. 4) The Japanese have much more interesting snack foods than we have. 5) You can get legit food at Japanese 7-Elevens. They make the American 7-Eleven dining experience look like…well, you already know what it looks like. 6) Japan sells a really good breakfast cereal I can’t remember the name of and I kind of miss it. (I can’t get it at the Asian market here. Sad face.) 7) The Japanese make pretty good sandwiches. 8) Japan sells better bread at their grocery stores than we sell here.

I’m still not a fan of miso, sushi, sashimi, seaweed, or the chewier sea creatures.

So should I tell you about my European vacation? It wasn’t super-European. I mean, we went to Paris for a few days, but then the rest of the time we were in London and Scotland, and I never know if the UK really “counts” as Europe. They seem to hold themselves apart a little. I don’t know. They don’t have the same money. But while I’m on the subject of money, can I just say (for the billionth time) that other countries’ money is so much prettier than U.S. money? Is there some reason we can’t use more color on our paper currency? I mean, come on. And when is Harriet Tubman going on the money, and are we really going to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 because that seems like bullcrap, and even if they end up sharing, that also seems like bullcrap, and anyway, Andrew Jackson being on the money is bullcrap in the first place because what a jerk. But now I’m getting off topic.

Not that I was ever really on topic in the first place, but I’m going to try now.

Europe!

It was a super-long day of flying because first we had to go from Portland to Atlanta, and then we had the transatlantic flight to Paris, but I did not sleep at all on either of these flights. I did not have a big problem with jet lag. I never really knew what time it was the whole time I was over there. It was like being in another dimension or something. (I don’t actually know what it’s like to be in another dimension.)

In Paris I saw the Eiffel Tower (naturally), the Louvre, Montmartre, Notre Dame, and the Catacombs. The Catacombs were cool, but also kind of creepy. The bread in France is delicious. All of the food I ate in France was delicious. I did not eat anything non-delicious there. I also did not learn any new French, unfortunately, although I think my pronunciation may be slightly less awful now. (Slightly.) French cab drivers are a lot like Japanese cab drivers. It would be so easy to get hit by a cab or a bus in France. But I did not get hit by either, gentle readers. (But if I had, I understand the medical care is free over there, so maybe that’s why they’re so lackadaiscal about stuff like traffic laws.) This is not a slur on French cab drivers (or the Japanese cab drivers). IT’S JUST DIFFERENT, THAT’S ALL. Another thing about France (or Paris, anyway) is that all the women are thin. I saw maybe one overweight French woman while I was there, and honestly, I don’t even know that she was actually French. She could have just been speaking French and hailing from some other country. I’m a terrible French-speaker, so if she had an accent, how would I have known?

In London I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre, the British Museum (which was cool, but would have been cooler if I hadn’t been to the Louvre three days before, so my advice, if you go to the British Museum, is to not see the Louvre first, or at least let the memory of the Louvre fade from your mind before embarking on a trip to any other museum), the Churchill War Rooms, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Wicked at the Apollo Victoria. I had never seen Wicked before–indeed, I knew almost nothing of Wicked, except that I read the book it was based on, and I might have heard one of the songs once. I liked it a lot. Romeo and Juliet at the Globe was really good, too. I was told we should get groundling tickets, but I thought that sounded like the opposite of what I should do because I’m too old to stand for two hours, especially in the rain. (For the record, it did not rain the night we were there, but it could have, and I am not any more inclined toward gambling than I am toward standing.) We went to an evening service at Westminster Abbey, which made me want to become an Anglican, or at least an Episcopalian. (Thirty-five minutes, start to finish. I FIND YOUR IDEAS INTRIGUING AND WISH TO SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR NEWSLETTER.)

In Edinburgh we went on a ghost tour and ate a lot of pub food. We also rented a car and drove out to see some old castles. Well, my husband drove. You could not have paid me to drive. I was not, frankly, super excited about riding in a car driven by someone who is not used to driving on the other side of the road, and there were some harrowing moments on our automobile journeys, but no injuries or fatalities to people or vehicles, and taking public transit would have turned a 40 minute trip into a 2-hour trip, so all in all I would say it was worth it. THE CASTLES IN SCOTLAND ARE AWESOME. We saw Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, of course, but that’s more of a museum. My favorite castle that we saw was Tantallon Castle in North Berwick. It’s on the coast, and it might be the most arresting scenery I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m going to share a picture with you.

 

 

 

 

That’s a view from the top. It’s pretty, but you know what? IT LOOKS LIKE CRAP COMPARED TO HOW BEAUTIFUL EVERYTHING WAS IN PERSON. So I’m afraid you’ll have to use your imagination.

Also while in Scotland, we toured St. Giles Cathedral, hiked up to Arthur’s Seat (it was super-windy and I forgot my ponytail, so my hair is like Bride of Frankenstein in all the pictures), and visited the Scottish Parliament. I had never thought about Scotland having a Parliament or not before this visit because I’m an ignorant American, but it’s only been around since 1999…which actually makes me feel even stupider for not being cognizant of its existence, but whatever. It’s a very weird-looking building from the outside, but quite nice inside. Actually, the building looks best from the aerial view; too bad most people won’t see it from that angle.

And then we flew home. In my opinion, two weeks was exactly the right amount of time to be gone. By the time we got home, I had actually started to miss the kids.

Well, that’s my vacation in a nutshell. If 1,300 words qualifies as a nutshell. I suppose for two weeks in Europe, that’s kind of a nutshell. And only one picture! That’s a nutshell indeed.

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