Some thoughts on returning home

I am waiting at the airport to fly back to Zurich. I have been in Seattle for about a week on a business trip. I think it will take some time to digest this trip (literally and figuratively) since it is my first trip back home since we moved. Great to see my friends and family.

The good

The first thing I should mention is I really, really liked being able to speak the language. From the moment I boarded the British Airways flight I could just relax and not worry about German. There is a moral to this: work harder on German and maybe this relaxing feel can happen all the time.

The second thing worth noting is I really do miss hamburgers. I thought I missed steak and I did. But hamburgers… they have them in Europe but they are, all apologies, wrong. Maybe they don’t have enough added hormones, maybe the beef is cleaner or not, who knows. But I can assert that American hamburgers really are better. Fries are usually but not always better in Europe. There are exceptions. But some quick rules about burgers:

  1. I don’t know what the sauce is in Europe, but it’s not right. The only good sauce on a burger is barbeque sauce.
  2. Pickles are dill, not sweet.
  3. Lettuce, tomato, onion. Yogurt is right out.

Before going too far let me address the reply that will certainly come, “what about American cheese”. Well… it’s not cheese, it’s “cheese food” whatever that distinction means. It’s neither cheese nor food, discuss. Seriously, just ask and most restaurants will happily give you something better like cheddar, “Swiss” which causes me to chuckle anyway since how could one word wrap all the cheeses in Switzerland. It would be like asking for “French” dressing… oh wait.

I’ll move on to steak. I miss big, gigantic, marbled, grilled steak. My in-laws cooked up a doozy on Tuesday. We had a decent if disappointing steak at El Gaucho on Wednesday. And then another big steak on Saturday with the in-laws. Man…. I miss steak. On the other hand I ate half a kilo of beef for each steak and that is just not sustainable for someone of my advanced years.

What else…. really good Mexican food. Rare in Seattle too, but rarer in Zurich. Carta Oaxaca in Ballard is a treat.

Sliced bread is good too. Someday I will sell bread-slicing machines in Zurich and make a fortune. Imagine good, tasty, rich bread but sliced. It would be the best idea since, well, you know.

The bad

Traffic. It was everywhere. Tons and tons of cars. And no trains. I’m ready to be back in the land of trains and trams.

There was also a noticeable lack of bratwurst stands in Seattle, go figure. I miss bratwurst. And cervelat. I’d make a large wager one cannot find cervelat in Seattle.

I also couldn’t really walk anywhere. I wanted to go to the store — jump in the car. At one point today I caught myself driving 60 yards from one parking lot to another as I changed stores. What is that about? By the time I return to Zurich I will have lost my walking muscles.

It was also pretty damp. I always forget how damp Seattle is. Of course this year Seattle has trended colder than Zurich which is unusual. And they are having an amazing ski season.


Home is where you wear your hat, after all.

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