Appreciating My Own Backyard


I’m very excited about my upcoming trip to Germany in February. I thought about where I wanted to go while I was there, and thanks to businesses like Ryanair, there were a variety of fantastic possibilities. From Frankfurt-Hahn airport, I could fly roundtrip to Barcelona or Katowice (Silesian Poland) for free; to Rome for 10 or 25 euros; to London or Dublin for 30 euros. Yeah, I’d still have to pay 30 euros or so in taxes, plus transportation to town, but it’s still phenomenally cheap to get to all kinds of fabulous places within Europe once you’re there. However (though I reserve the right to change my mind), when I really thought about what I wanted to see, I found most of it was right in the Baden-Wuerttemberg area of Germany. So right now I’m dreaming of seeing old castles and pretty lakes and regretting the loss of the fairy-tale land I had to leave behind when my family moved to America.

But then, Peter and I had a chance to look through some of our own recent family pictures. Seeing the pictures made an impression on me that somehow was lost in the original experience, and I realized I’m also lucky to be living in a beautiful place now. Our photo albums are full of dramatic pictures of the great redwoods, the San Francisco skyline, Nob Hill, the Golden Gate Bridge, surreal exhibitions at science and art museums, and the Pacific ocean, many of them with us in them. And so, while I’m dreaming of Heidelberg, Lake Constance, and Neuschwanstein Castle, someone in Baden-Wuerttenberg is probably dreaming about a trip San Francisco and its environs.

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