Differences between Europe and America
Language: from the Europeans I met, I found out most of them are fluent with three or more languages while Americans can normally speak two. This is definitely an advantage for Europe. However, we cannot blame Americans too much on this since most neighbor countries only speak Spanish. European languages are also somewhat close to each other, which makes it easier to learn. One important thing I want to mention is how much Europeans emphasize language. During our visits to some companies, the speaker always told us how important to be fluent with a foreign language. I especially remember one company; they had costumers around the world so they hired staff that could speak their native languages.
Cities: it was a lot of fun being in a European city. They are usually big and packed, but this also makes it convenient for us to travel. Most cities have bike passes and they ride crazy. Even though some cities are huge, in order to protect the old buildings, they tend not to build skyscrapers. Free bathrooms are rare to see.
Water: sparkling water is a common thing in Europe. In Germany, I couldn’t drink water directly from the sink so I boiled it. However, I saw incrustations floating in my water after boiling. I went to grocery store to buy water in the end.
Some thoughts about Holocaust Memorial and Museum
I especially want to write about this since I feel I learn the most there.
We arrived at the Holocaust Memorial in a foggy and rainy morning. There was a huge square with many concrete cuboids standing in rows. As I walked toward the center of the square, the ground started to become steep and cuboids were getting taller. It was so dark. I turned around and couldn’t see anyone since I was surrounded by the cuboids. I feel this memorial fits perfectly to the atmosphere of the museum because I felt overwhelmed and desperate by the enormous concrete cuboids.
Then we went into the museum. There were a lot of readings and images to explain what happened. One thing that surprised me was the museum focused a lot on individuals even though there were six million people died. There were phones I could pick up to hear survivors tell stories themselves. The first story impressed me the most. The mother was sent to Auschwitz with grandmother and two sons; one was six and the other was ten. They were being separated into two lines. The mother could clearly tell one line was for labor since they were all young and strong people, but she didn’t know what the other line was about. The German selector ordered her to the labor line and her younger son to the other line. Then the selector wanted to order his older son to the labor line since he was big for his age. She didn’t want her older son to work, so she asked the selector if the older son and grandmother could go to the other line. The selector agreed. In fact, the other line was to the gas chamber. The mother became the only survivor of her family but suffered the pain for the rest of her life. The way the museum focused so much on individuals just brought the holocaust more vivid. This was only one story but the pain was already so overwhelmed. Thinking about similar story was repeated six million times, the emotion was so strong that I couldn’t even express my feelings.
As we are leaving Paris this morning and heading to Luxembourg, I am writing a brief summary about what i saw and felt about Paris,
1. Versailles Palace is a interesting place to visit since you can see how French nobles lived back in the day. There are some enormous paintings on the ceilings which amazed me.
2. Eiffel Tower is cool, but not as great as i thought. We arrived there in a foggy day, so not much to see even though we climbed up high. The tower is painted in a rusted yellow color which makes it so old.
3. Louvre is definitely worth visiting. There were countless mater pieces there. The tour guild would show you some most remarkable ones which a big crowd always located at.
4. Catacombs. We spent about an hour underground, 30 minutes walking in mining tunnels and 30 minutes visiting bodies. i was shocked about how many people were stacked there, almost never ended.
Some thoughts about Paris
1. Local people were still friendly enough even though we did not speak French to them.
2. French people were ALL dressed really fancy. i think they could easily tell we were Americans since we were all in Northface, jeans and sports shoes.
3. The urban planning of Paris is awful. Roads are too narrow for a city this size and many of them are one-way. Car are tiny and subway is convenient.
I grew up in a 7-million people city, so I would like to live in Paris no mater I know French or not.