24 January, 2010


The feeling was not predictable; it did not grow with each day before departure. Instead it came in fits and starts, in fleeting moments of existential weirdness. Of going to get a glass of milk, and looking at the glasses in the cupboard the way they've been all these years. Wondering how long the familiar order of things will persist in absentia. But for the most part, that i am "across the pond", and scheduled to be here for five months, is still obtuse. From the air, the snow-dusted agricultural fields surrounding München look uncannily like Pensylvania this time of year. The flughafen (airport) here is like Detroit: long, narrow parallel terminals, polished granite floor that stretches as far as i can see.

Yet there are differences that tell me i am no longer home: German falls upon my ears, and announcements (since i boarded the flight from Boston) come first in German, then in English. Camel-branded smoking lounges, small enclosed spaces ventilated separately from the concourse, pop up every few hundred meters. And if airport food is expensive, airport food in Euro is veryyyy expensive. Lufthansa claims "there's no better way to fly." From the quality of the in-flight hot dinner, the selection of entertainment, touch-screen TVs for each seat with twelve movies on demand, complimentary nightcap, and breakfast, i would have to agree. Only problem was that i chose the wrong moment to leave my seat, and missed breakfast. On the layover in München i ordered an orange juice. Five euro - for an orange juice - is nearly ten USD.