European Kaleidoscope

Matt Boey
February 28, 2016

Dear Internet,

In my extensive life time of 19 years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a bit over the endless sea of unnecessarily fried foods, bald eagles and NASCAR that is (stereotypically) the United States. I say that generalization lovingly, because there is admittedly comfort when traveling within the U.S. because there is always a sense of familiarity. It’s easy to forget how slightly incredible it is that you can walk over 2,500 miles from sea to shining sea and not find a problem with communicating with any passersby. Or how my Midwestern lingo and jokes can carry over to Texas or Arizona. Or that with the help of McDonalds, you can make a poor health decision anywhere in the country. 

Traveling through Europe is a different beast altogether, mainly because it's amalgamation of 28 different animals. To put it in perspective, from my hometown of Milwaukee, walking 400 miles in any direction would find yourself in a place with little to no cultural difference discounting Canada, which most would consider "basically Wisconsin". The same experiment in Freiburg brings you to Austria, Slovenia, France, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and (just for fun) Luxembourg.

This was exemplified personally during our excursion to Berlin and Prague, the former adopting an overall aesthetic of wearing it's history on it's sleeve, both the good and the ugly. On a city tour, our guide casually pointed out bullet holes in the pillars of the city museums, left over scars from the intense fighting in World War II. Down the road from the German Parliament is a mounment to the Lost Jews of Europe, in rememberance of the Holocaust. And even without the Berlin Wall, the stark atompshereic and architectural differences of West and East Berlin still linger.

In contrast, Prague, though under the influence of the Communist bloc, seems to take most of it's influence from Shrek 2. Castles gleem from the mountain side, accessible only by an ornately decorated cobble stoned bridge. Densely packed with narrow streets and close quarters, cahtedrals and churches take the most prominance, with remnant of the Middle and Late ages acting as a pretty cover over the modernness of the city.

The stark differences despite having a distance amounting in the states as a change from Wisconsin to Illinois is representative of the essence of Europe, a kaleidoscope of varying cultures and languages. It takes some getting use to, but eventually, you develop pschedelic 20-20 vision.



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Matt Boey

<p>Known as Matthew, Matthias, Mateo, Boom, and occasionally Rug, Matt Boey is a sophomore journalism and political science major with minors in tomfoolery and shenanigans. A native of Wisconsin, he currently attends Loyola University Chicago. Beyond writing or very strong coffee, Matt loves playing piano, theater, Zumba, singing in the shower, and people.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
Political Science
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