Brian & Ann's European Experience

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Our First Trip Home - Part II

It was a little weird being ‘home’. First of all, it’s hard to call a place home when you don’t live there, even if all your friends are there and you’ve spent a significant chunk of your life there. When you’re driving around in a rental car, and you have to sleep in someone else’s bed, calling it ‘home’ just doesn’t feel right. But it was good to be back regardless.

I want to say a big thank you to all our friends who made time to see us during the five days that we were back. Even Katie proved how strong her secret love for me is by flying all the way from Germany just so she could see me again. Mark and Katrin hosted us for a bit while we cooed over Kira. Guze and Allie came and saw us at least three times, and Guze and I did our first Fantasy Football draft in person while our wives attempted to hide their “there they go again with that silly game” looks.

The other major accomplishment of our first trip home was that we spent a lot of money. Between buying DVDs to take back with us, clothes, and eating out, we spent over a grand. And while it was unabashedly decadent, it felt (and tasted) fantastic. I was in Best Buy going through the downward spiral of a compulsive consumer. First I would take one or two $20 movies off the ‘new releases’ shelf and say, “I really need these.” Then I would see one or two $15 movies and say, “Oh, these were really great movies too, and they’re discounted,” and then I found the $5.99 rack and I just disintegrated into a mindless buying machine. A second copy of “Rounders”? Sure, why not. A widescreen version of “the 13th Warrior”? How could I say no?

Even Ann, who I depend on to be the responsible one, went a little crazy. I was in Banana Republic, fretting over an $80 pair of pants, and this long sleeve shirt that went well with them. I showed the combo to Ann. She said: “That’s nice. Why don’t you get it in brown too?”

That’s right. Why don’t I?

With the Euro gaining 30% in the good ole USofA it’s like everything is at a 25% discount to start with. Ann and I already transferred a lot of money from our savings account here in Europe simply because we can instantly make 30% on it without having to pay taxes. I wouldn’t mind eating ramen noodles for a few months and saving every penny I can to transfer over.

Well. Maybe ramen noodles and chicken fingers.

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