Interesting informational tidbit about Denmark. Visiting Denmark is like being in a world where half the women look like Charlize Theron and the other half look like Charlize Theron's twin sister. Well, actually we will go with 48/48. The other 4% look like Charlize Theron if she dyed her hair brown.

   Have you Ever wondered why it takes so long for some people to order at Starbucks?  Well, I wanted to find out.  Turns out, some of the people who go into Starbucks have never been in one before.  I know, weird.  But even more amazing, it appears some of them have never before been out in public at all.
   This is, for some, there initial foray into the realm of interpersonal communication.  And you can imagine the difficulty level when your first ever attempt at the spoken word involves an attempt to order an upside down caramel machiatto frappuccino with caramel drizz, low fat, extra whip cream, with sprinkles, grande in a venti cup with room.  Now, do it in pantomime because you have never heard these terms before.  How would you act out the word machiatto in a competitive game of charades?  I thought so.
   Maybe it's time for all of us to show a little more patience in line at Starbucks.



While observing the homeless in Europe, when I arrived back in the states, Carlsbad, CA;  I happened upon a woman named Annette, minding her business, only stopping to ask if I could help her down a ramp to the train station.  She never asked for money etc.. What she gave me was a rich and deep story about how a woman can become homeless at 65.  She grew up in Germany.  Spoke 4 languages by the age of 9.  She went on to become a phd in science.  The way she ended up homeless was, she met a man in the US, who courted and eventually married her.  The culture of women in Germany - according to Annette - is such that a husband has control over every financial decision and finances in general.  He took her for all of her wealth, her beautiful home in Carlsbad, and of course her dignity.  What made her an inspiration to me, was the fact that she wasn't going to compromise and eat just any food someone offered her.  "Why do you think my skin looks so good?" Call her arrogant if you will.  I call her a woman who has managed to keep her dignity and her sense of humor.  She spoke of the difficulties of being homeless, but her spirit did not daunt, proven by the bright red lipstick she applied to her lips daily.

Perhaps we who love to travel could be part of the homeless exchange in Europe.  To place ourselves in situations that challenge our wits & the excuses we use that hold us back from being, and doing, all of the things we say we want, and want to do, but never allow ourselves the permission to live totally free from what "everyone" expects of us and from us. 

My friend Robert has been learning this. Divorced a few years ago.   Sold his home and belongings a year ago when his last kid left for college.  He left for Cartagena Columbia, to Lake Placid FL then back to Cartagena for 3 months.  He came back with a settledness, and a sense of freedom from the expectations of his family.  Proving that we need (if we want to grow as humans) to leave our motherland for a time to discover who we are, the dreams we used to dream, what excites us, what makes us come alive.

There are a lot of people out there telling you to be yourself, which is great. The problem is they are giving this advice non-discriminately. There are, I believe, certain people we can all agree should never be themselves under any circumstances. Because let's face it, quite a few people out there totally suck. At some point in his life someone told a young Adolf Hitler the German equivelant of "Just be yourself." Which he took to mean fully immerse yourself in that sociopathic, racially motivated hatred and just see where it takes you. So from now on anyone who irresponsibly throws that phrase out there needs to be held legally accountable for the consequences. And if you happen to know someone who is a complete ass, try telling them to be Tom Hanks. I understand that he's a pretty good guy.