T: Amazing Husband ST: Three-year-old Wonder Prof. G: Advisor I Prof. C: Advisor II Julie: Stylish Sister Rob: Awesome Brother Belle: Our Cat Bill: Grumbling BIL Rita: Uncomplicated SIL SMU: Smallish Midwestern University Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Sunday, November 06, 2005
On Public Transportation and Anonymous Blogging
I love public transportation. I really love it.
Today, for example, I was all over European Capital City (ECC) and it cost me less than five dollars. One side of the city to the other, trains, subways, streetcars and busses, no hassles, no waiting, no problems. It is really quite wonderful. It makes me feel so independent -- my friends don't worry about me getting home, even if we part at the opposite end of the city from where I live. I don't have to rely on anyone. If I miss a bus or a subway -- no problem. Another comes along in five minutes or less, all through the night. My only worry is having proper change to pay the fare, since many of the ticket machines do not accept banknotes.
I have a few friends here in ECC, people I met through a small conference held at my home university in 2002. They are coming with their families to Small Midwestern University City in February and will stay until early June. They were asking me tonight about how to get around, which train to take from the airport, how much train fare costs, etc. With great embarrassment I had to break the news that we only have city busses in Small Midwestern University City, and that there was no train from the airport or anywhere else. They wondered how they'd get out of the city on the weekends, or how they'd get even 20 miles north to North Midwestern City. They wondered how they'd even get to my house, in Small Suburb. How awful it felt tell them that they could take the bus as far as the mall, and then I'd have to come and pick them up. How claustrophobic this news must make them feel, since they are used to travelling about their own country with ease and without worrying about car breakdowns, gas, insurance, environmental degradation, etc.
I am a big fan of Europe in general, but the excellent public transportation is surely one of Europe's greatest achievements. Sure, in large American cities you can find a good public transportation system, but -- especially in the expansive Midwest -- it's really hard to get around if you don't have a car. My friends, for example, have only just bought their first car (a tiny Honda) and they are well into their thirties; when they are in Small Midwestern University City this spring they will have to rent a car on the weekends (fortunately, we can lend them a car seat for their young son so they won't have to buy that, too!). It's just too bad that it can't be easier for them.
I am keeping another blog about this trip, a non-anonymous blog my family and certain friends read to keep up with me. It's been nice to keep an online diary, to post photos, etc. My mom, for example, is a huge fan: she knows that I post around 4:00 CST and she waits by the computer to read and look at the pictures. I talked to my parents yesterday and it was so great to answer the questions they had about my journeys without having to explain everything -- they'd read about what I was doing already and so we could have a nice conversation about it.
That's what stinks about anonymous blogging. I have so much that I'd love to share with you all, but it would blow my "cover." There are so many wonderful things I'm experiencing but I only post generic shells here -- it's frustrating. I count many of you -- especially those in my sidebar -- as anonymous e-friends, and one doesn't keep important life events from one's friends. I know you all understand, but it stinks nonetheless.
Now I'm off to read about your lives. It's nice to know that when I come to my temporary home, you are all here waiting with new posts to keep me connected to my "real" world and my "real" home in the U.S. Thank you.