Thursday, August 18, 2011

The European Summer

Hello. I’m an American and I was going to do a lot of things this summer.

I was going to finish one last edit of my memoir.

I was going to make sure my entire novel was outlined.

I was going to pitch additional inflight magazines after finally breaking into one.

I was going to keep up with this blog.

I was going to work full time as a copywriter.

I was going to keep up with my magazine column.

I was going to tell everyone that asked how busy I was.

But the only thing I accomplished on this list over the summer were the last three.

As an American, I feel like a slacker. And I hate this “if I’m not busy then I’m not worthy” thing that still haunts me, even five years after being abroad. So I’m trying to embrace my European status instead. Key word, trying.

A European would feel fine about my accomplishments this summer. After all, many small stores and restaurants in Switzerland close completely in July and August. I think as creative people (and especially as Americans), we can learn from this. So I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for not accomplishing everything I wanted. After all, it is summer. I am in Europe. And with the little free time I have, the pool is calling my name.

Anyone else trying to embrace their European side this summer?


  1. Me! I'm a Brit living in the States and I constantly have to stop rushing around. I can't even sit and watch TV without mentally thinking about the next thing I have to do. I used to know how to relax and enjoy life! Ye gads!

  2. This was a major lesson I learned while living abroad, too-- Americans completely over commit themselves and don't stop to enjoy life near enough. Sounds like your summer was fantastic!

  3. Expat mum--sorry to hear the American lifestyle has caught up with you! Hope you can learn to relax again!

    L. Shanna, hope you're able to take the lesson learned abroad home with you!

  4. Trying! But actually I work for a company that doesn't take a break because of the type of events it runs, so in reality we are busier than ever. Which is only a problem for me because I can't go visit the US this August like I normally would.

    However, we do have summer hours (only work 5 hours a day, except event weekends and then those 5 become 11 a day). These shorter days are welcomed - I really can enjoy my summer even though I am working.

  5. Hah - I totally relate to this post. That is so me. But this summer, I did manage to take European-style vacation! The house we vacationed in had no Wifi, which forced me to abandon many projects. Okay, I admit, I did begin outlining a novel, but other than that I spent three weeks just reading, bbq'ing and running after my kids. Now, back in Paris, I feel truly rested for the first time in ages. Europeans know their stuff when in comes to vacations. Hope you're enjoying the rest of yours, Chantal.

  6. Hi Brittalarge, glad to hear you're trying, that's all you can do, right? 5 hour days sound great--especially in the no A/C European office world.

    Barbara, glad you got rested and hope Paris is staying cooler than Zurich!

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