The name of this blog comes from a conversation I had with my lovely Danish roommate the first time I traveled overseas. Line (pronounced the same way as “Lena”) and I were both taking classes in Nice. Besides being a lovely person, Line spoke English fluently, so we were fast friends. One of our favorite post-class activities was eating ice cream, which I have to say, is one of many foods that is really much better in Europe. On this afternoon, I tried out a new flavor.
“What did you get?” Line asked as I returned to our table with a honey-brown scoop.
“Cinnamon.” I took a mouthful. “Mmmmm.”
Line recoiled visibly. “Cinnamon? Cinnamon ice cream?”
I nodded. “It’s amazing. You want some?”
Line shook her head, grimacing as though I had suggested she try turd-flavored next. This was a girl who, the previous night, had ordered flavors that included lavender and, perversely, tomato-basil. “Ugh. You guys have cinnamon-flavored gum, too, don’t you?”
We exchanged looks with the identical expression. A place with cinnamon gum? A place without cinnamon gum?
No such thing.
That’s what traveling is about to me: finding the places where two cultures meet, look each other square in the eye, and have a profound, albeit respectful, disagreement on what each thinks should be the simplest basic facts holding together the fabric of society. That’s the spirit I want to keep in mind as I write here, hopefully amusing readers with my bumbling faux pas as I stumble about two continents in search of great food, good drinks, and rousing political debate.
Cinnamon gum. Who knew?