Home Again

I’ve been back home for over two weeks now. I’m just that good at updating this. A few last words about the Euro-trip:

The Iran-Angola game was, as any who watched it know, a crap match. Angola had the chance to advance from the group stage but didn’t show up for the game, literally or figuratively. Their fans were conspicuously absent, which was disappointing. The team played like they had nothing to win, and it ended up being a fairly boring nil-nil draw, though far from the worst of the tournament. And it was still fun to go. I can now say that, of the four professional matches, I have seen two World Cup games (group-stage Brazil-Sweden in ’94) and one WC Qualifier (US-Mexico in Ohio last Labor Day).

Liverpool was an incredibly fun town. The hostel, by far the best of the trip, was friendly and welcoming. They offered me tea before even asking about money and reservations! The first night I was there–a Thursday–Australia squeaked by Croatia (Graham Poll’s last official match) so the in-house Socceroos were in drunken high spirits. We went out to The Cavern, a small club deep under ground in downtown Liverpool where the Beatles once played and, every Thursday night, a tribute called the Mersey Beatles still do. The second day I spent the morning in Manchester, which is like a slightly bigger, taller Liverpool, and the afternoon downtown. That night I watched some movie with others from the Hostel and the next morning, feeling sick again, left for Dublin.

I was estatic to see JD again. It had been so long since I’d seen a familiar face. And despite having no plan whatsoever, we managed to meet at our hostel, which was a fine place, not great but far from the worst. The first night, three friends of his were there, two from his study abroad and one from Ohio State, so we went to see his friend Peter play at a pub. Then the two girls left over the course of the night and the next day JD, Scott and I went to see the GAA Football Semifinal between Dublin Co. and Laois Co. at Croke Park. That was amazing, and I actually understand GAA Football now. Then there were a couple days of wandering around, meeting some people from the hostel, pub-crawling.

JD left very early one morning and my flight was much later in the day, so I spent a miserable few hours sick as a dog and then was very happy to fly Heathrow, where I wandered for a while then slept on the floor until my flight in the morning. I watched movies the whole time. When I landed in Chicago, Ira was stuck in traffic and then spent an hour circling the wrong terminal, so I waited for about two hours. But, if nothing, 6 weeks of travel has taught me how to mentally amuse myself while waiting for things, so it wasn’t too bad.

And that was the end of my trip. I had an incredible, life-changing experience, and I would certainly encourage anyone the least bit interested to go and backpack, but I wouldn’t do a trip like this again. For me, it’s too long to be without a home base, a place to kick off your shoes and not worry about your bag, or spend a lazy weekend afternoon sprawled on the couch. I could definitely spend a week or two on the backpack, or head to a French apartment for a couple of months, but, amazing as this was, I don’t think I would repeat it.

So now, this blog is freed of the only restriction I ever placed on it. And now I will be writing longer bits on more diverse topics. Tonight or tomorrow I will probably update a little more about my personal life, but expect topics such as “Rethinking Wikis” and “The Value of Mathematics” in the future.