As an American parent of German children, I strive to set a good example and to be a better ambassador for my country than the person who literally has that job right now. To these ends, I try to maintain a mein of dignified composure when presented with cultural differences. My Respect First, Laugh Later ethos has been sorely tested recently:
- The Birkenstock store in Regensburg, Germany sells socks.
- At-the-farm milk vending machines in Austria are convenient, delicious, and not always refrigerated.
- My fridge contains a very special cheese that smells exactly like my basketball locker in college.
Things are different, but they’re good. Good enough to stick around for a while: we’re buying a 350-year-old farmhouse in Ütz, Austria. Come visit! The milk is so fresh it’s warm! Cool evenings but you only brought sandals? We have the solution! While you’re here, you can help me stoke up my nerve to try this cheese.