How many times do we go through the day so busy and preoccupied, we miss out on what is going around us? I know there are countless times I have done this and realized it later. To counter this, no matter how busy or distracted I am, I try to take a few minutes to appreciate the sunset, or put away the cell phone and enjoy the company around me, or pull out a physical book or magazine and take time to read. I don’t do this enough, and I am not always successful in my endeavors to slow down, but I try.
The logistical challenge big cities pose is fascinating. On the one hand, it is good to have everyone concentrated together. On the other, it creates logistical challenges due to crowding and lack of space. Anyone who has commuted to Manhattan has experienced this challenge first hand. I took this picture from the High Line, an excellent public park on former elevated rail tracks looking down at Hudson Yards. Seeing this many trains at once in Manhattan is an interesting site.
The changes in Eastern Europe over the past 25 years have opened up so many excellent travel destinations. I remember vividly how my kindergarten teacher, circa 1985, pointed out how big the Soviet Union was on a map. She told us it was evil and they were against us. I also remember hearing stories about Communism: bread lines, one-child policy, travel restrictions. Much was true, but it was tainted with Western propaganda. In fact, I was astounded when I first met someone who grew up in East Germany and she told me her childhood was happy.
I think in stories. When I see someone in a car next to me, I think “what is his/her story?” Or when you see a report on tv. What is he worried about? What did she have for dinner? Part of the motivation for writing this blog is to tell a story with each picture.
I took this from a balcony in the town of Mainaschaff, which is near Frankfurt. The similarity of the cookie-cutter high-rises struck me aesthetically. Looking at the picture, I wonder what the stories are. Each window has a story hiding behind it. How many people are happy? Mourning a loss? Did someone just miss the opportunity of a lifetime? Did another finally achieve a dream through adversity? Who is bored? Eating? What are the stories we pass by every day and don’t know about? So many stories, but I have none to tell.
The idea of currency, of money, always fascinated me. I remember collecting foreign coins as a child. I was excited when my grandparents brought me back Lira after a trip to Italy. One of the most exciting aspects of a childhood trip to Niagara Falls was paying with Canadian dollars. Money is a weird concept if you think about it. Something that is only worth anything because everyone tacitly agrees on it. As a student of business and economics, I think money and currency are some of the most interesting aspects of the field. For people like me, the euro experiment was very interesting. It is very unsettling to have one currency replace another. It changes your perception. Suddenly you pay more attention to the price of things and notice changes in price. It feels like you are spending foreign money. More than the transition to the euro, it took a long time for me to stop thinking in US dollars and switch to calculating in euros in my head. Only after years of earning in euros did I start thinking in Euros.