Intermission -- Miami, FL
Trip Start Mar 04, 2010
25Trip End Ongoing
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Three observations before heading back across the pond.
#1: How quickly will my tastes/standards revert back to their pre-Africa levels? Recently, I told someone that this trip would ultimately save me money because my definitions of comfort and luxury have changed, e.g,, any car with air conditioning and a CD player is comfortable, and an Audi A4 or BMW 330i would be downright luxurious. Being back in the US (Miami, of all places) for a few hours, however, and I feel myself slipping right back into old habits. We have my birthday dinner at Mr Chow. We go shopping on Lincoln Road. We go to the spa at The Standard. Etc. Etc. Sometimes I think I'm just that shallow. Sometimes I think that I just like pretty, shiny things. But what I'm most sure of is that people do not change -- at least the fundamental things that define you don't change. Mean people do not become nice, lazy people do not become go-getters, and, most certainly, people who like pretty things will not be content will less-pretty things merely because they've spent 10 weeks in Africa. So, people, I hope you liked me before, because there isn't a "new me" coming back home. Hopefully, though, my aesthetic has been refined and I'll like things purely because of the way they look and feel and perform, and not because of any status or elitism associated with them. Only time will time.
#2: I am slightly annoyed that I don't have a cool accent. With parents from foreign countries, I should have got something out of it. Having spent the past month or so hearing English spoken with South African, British, Aussie, and Kiwi accents, I feel decidedly less cool. Did those folks think that I'm cool because I have an American accent? Nope. Not a one of them. I think I would be much more attractive, and assumed to be more intelligent, if I spoke English with an accent. I mean, I'm not necessarily saying I want the accent that my Hungarian/Japanese ancestry should have bestowed upon me. Can you imagine Count Dracula crossed with Mr. Miyagi? Yeah, me neither. What I really want is to sound African, from a former French colony, speaking English with a French accent. (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUjRXk4FFEM&feature=related). Imagine me speaking like that. I would be awesome.
#3: Ignore most of what I said in #1, because I've decided that there is one change I'd like to make. Accompanying the massive amount of popular culture I consume, I'd like to have some small, small part in its creation -- at least in creating the culture around me. I don't plan on recording an album or writing a screenplay or anything like that. But maybe, I don't know...supporting the ballet or opera, or going to art openings, or investing in a restaurant someday. I guess that going to all these new cities makes me appreciate those things more, and I want to add to what my city offers. Someone has to drive our cities forward, and who better than me (or us)? We can't simply rely on someone else to entertain us. And, big picture, I feel this way about America as a whole. We can't sit back and consume consume consume and rely on our massive economy to keep our cities vibrant. Cities in China and Australia and the UK look far more modern than anything in the US, which is pretty frightening (and challenging and inspiring).
More selfishly, I want to be a more interesting person. The people I remember on this trip are noteworthy for the way they act and the things they do -- not their job titles, not the stuff they own. Stuff really doesn't make you interesting. If the most interesting thing about you is the amount you paid for your stuff, then you are most likely a total d-bag. I don't want to be a d-bag. What's really important in life, I think (and this may be newly-discovered for me), are the connections you make with people. The more you put yourself out there, the more you try to create and shape the world around you, the more forward-thinking, optimistic people you're bound to meet.
Maybe this is a reverse mid-life crisis. I'm discovering that I don't need the Porsche!
Eh. Probably not.
OK, so this was what I was thinking about during my week back in the US, between trips to Chipotle and Starbucks. Next up: a return to (hopefully) interesting stories about interesting places, such as...Edinburgh, Scotland: sheep, whisky, and the horrible, horrible look that is black tights and jean shorts.