After several years traveling and living all around the globe, I once again find myself settled in my suburban existence – only now with a much greater understanding of how differently people around the world live. In my time away, I learned to loathe some of the trappings of my “old life”, and learned to appreciate things I took for granted. Time away from what you consider home is a microscope you use to analyze the structure of your life to that point – the combination of homesickness and a sudden abundance of free time give you plenty of time to reminisce and contemplate.
I think we can all agree that Paris is somewhat different than suburban Detroit. Further, I don’t think there are many people who would disagree with the statement that Paris is one of the most – if not the most – beautiful cities in the world. Personally, I’m a Rome guy, but it’s #2 at worst. Where my perspective starts diverge from that of most people, though, is in determining just how much “better” Paris is than my home town, my home state, or my home country. Through all the highs and lows of the new experience, I never strayed far from the premise that life in Paris wasn’t better than life in suburban Midwestern America, nor was it worse. It was just different. France wasn’t inherently a better country or a worse country than the United States – it was simply a different entity altogether. Apples and oranges. Or, in this case, cheese and donuts.