Random TV Moment

We haven’t really watched any television since leaving the English-speaking countries.  This is usually just as well since we should probably be doing something productive like writing blogposts or watching the latest episode of Amazing Race on YouTube (internet permitting).  Nonetheless, I can’t help but do the obligatory once-through the TV channels once we are settled in the room.  On the continent, it’s usually a 60 second chore just to see if there is at least one English channel like BBC World News.  Then, we proceed to ignore the appliance but for the weather check in the morning if the internet is not working.

During my initial run through, I like watching a few seconds of each channel.  Normally, I am rewarded with some kind of American programming dubbed in French.  For example, today’s scan found that the French Cartman sounds fairly similar to his American counterpart.  In Ireland, I found that Sponge Bob knew Gaeltalk.  In Nice, we had a wacky deja vu moment…

IMG_1835

What's that category again?

Yeah, that’s the French Vannah White.  A couple more…

What's that E symbol?

What's that € symbol?

French Pat Sajak

French Pat Sajak

Madame, Monsieur, French Wheel of Fortune.

A Breakfast By Any Other Name

(fill in the blank) Breakfast

(fill in the blank) Breakfast

While in the UK and Ireland, we’ve stayed in numerous of bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and guesthouses.  As the second B implies, the room also comes with breakfast in the morning.  More often than not, breakfast isn’t merely yogurt and cereal but a hot, cooked breakfast usually consisting of sausage, bacon, beans, an egg, tomato, and toast.  Sometimes you also get black pudding; sometimes you get hashbrowns or mushrooms.  Sometimes the tomato is missing.

Before arriving in the islands, we’d heard these referred to as “English” breakfasts.  Imagine our surprise when we got to Wales and saw “Welsh breakfast” on the menu.  “Neat!” we thought.  We were interested in trying something different.  The difference?  Absolutely nothing but name.  Sausage, bacon, egg, tomato, mushroom, beans, and black pudding.  As we continued traveling, the same held true for “Scottish” and “Irish” breakfasts.  Well, the latter sometimes included Irish pancakes, but that was the only difference.

That said, we found that the biggest B&B faux pas one could commit is to call that breakfast by any other name.  We saw this in action in Scotland when an unfortunate Englishman asked for a full “English” breakfast in the dining room.  The host paused, laughed, and asked “Scottish breakfast?” while fellow diners looked over and snickered derisively.  The poor guy stammered and giggled and managed a “oh, yes, Scottish breakfast, of course”.

You wouldn’t think the regional name of a breakfast would be a big deal (and perhaps it isn’t), but it seems more of a reflection of regional pride and a need to distinguish one’s area from the former mother country of England.  We have observed and often commented between ourselves about the general attitudes of both British subjects and the Irish.  It’s a broad generalization, but here it is anyway:  the Welsh, Scots, and Irish have a deeply-rooted suspicion and dislike for the English, and the English hold a general disdain for anyone not English.  The latter seems subtle in everyday life, but the former is a matter of pride and usually worn on one’s sleeve.  We heard anti-English comments regularly outside of England.

Before visiting Europe, I never knew that Continental breakfast referred to the kind of breakfast you usually find on the “continent”– pastries, muffins, bread, and tea/coffee.  As we leave the islands tomorrow, I will indeed miss the breakfasts, especially the egg part.  😉  More than that, though, I am going to miss these countries.  They are jam-packed with history and culture, and I have had a great time.  Hope to get back again soon.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

Street Corner Randomness

Unlike my previous street corner experience, we had a rather pleasant encounter the other day. It was our first day in Munich, and we were just getting oriented with the neighborhood around the hotel. It was 20:00, and we noticed that there was hardly anything open. We were trying to find a grocery store or corner market to pick up a few things since we actually had a fridge at our disposal in the room. Well, we walked down one side and around the corner and were just going to give up when we decided to walk to just to the end of the street. We got to the corner and looked around. Nothin’. We talked about giving up and turned back towards the hotel, when an older lady stopped us with a, “Do you need some help?” in perfectly American English. Our American accents had stopped her.

I was tongue-tied, but Charity piped up and asked if anything was open. The lady laughed and said, “Goodness, no, nothing’s open after 8!” She made a few suggestions, especially giving up on restaurants as they were too expensive and said, “just go to McDonalds!” We laughed some more, and she commented on how things used to close at 6:30 when she first arrived in Munich 11 years ago. It apparently was a big deal when they decided to extend to 8pm! Ok, I swear not to use this word too much, but how “quaint”! I guess “blue laws” are alive and well here in Munich. She also advised that nothing would be open on Sunday (after Charity referred to Austrian Sundays). Basically, forget about it.

So I finally asked where she was from, and you’ll never guess… she’s from MAUI. Ha!! Talk about serendipity. Not only had we met a kind soul on this random street corner, she is kama`aina. I mean, she coulda been from Boise, and I woulda been happy to connect with another American, but heck, from HAWAI`I? Really?? Wow, small world. She’d come to Europe a decade ago looking for adventure and fell in love with a German in London. Cool.

I am thanking the Universe for random moments like that one. Out of all the street corners and people in the Nymphenburg neighborhood, we ran into just the right person at exactly the right moment. I am grateful for the randomness.

Leaving Seattle

It wasn’t until the plane turned away from Rainier heading west that it hit me– I was gonna miss this place. It’s been almost eight years since we packed up our lives and, on a whim, risked everything for a brand new start in the great Pacific Northwest. Naivete served us well as we left one struggling economy for another in the aftermath of the DotCom Bust of 2001. And if I could,  MayleneNow would thank MayleneThen for the incredible experiences, friends, and success.

Now, we’re off on another adventure, ready for new experiences and to make new friends along the way. I hope you’ll follow along with us and perhaps provide your own insights and advice.

E komo mai– welcome!!