Jan 23, 2016

Acheivement Unlocked

I was thrown slightly for a loop when I realized this week that I had achieved Silver Medallian status with Delta. It's not such a big deal- you get to board early and you have the possibility to get bumped up to business class sometimes, but Silver Medallian was something that my dad had when he was flying all over the world and we were living internationally. It also means that I've spent a very lot of money on airfare. Considering my current position, it makes me feel like I've sorely neglected some of not many parts of my life.

Another trapping of "successful 30's" is today we bought our first Le Creuset. Ayumi and Tim gifted us two small casseroles from Le Creuset, but today out shopping we picked up two mugs on deep discount.

Friday night, I met a bunch of ex-colleagues for an after-work beer at Milliways, a 'pop-up' bar loosely based on the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Thematically, it is a bit disappointing. It's got an astronaut theme sort of crossed with a retro-space age theme. The only other reference is in the drinks menu, the really hard alcohols are classified as the German translation of "Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters" which is just enough of a touch to convince you that, unfortunately, the bar really is trying to be about the books. The fact is that most of the bars patrons have never heard of Arthur Dent, Volgons, or the significance of 42. In some ways, the alienation of Arthur Dent in the universe mirrors your own if you are familiar with the books.

The snowfall that buried the city last weekend melted this morning with the above freezing temperatures, so it's wet and gray out. This week is supposed to warm up a lot. I will actually miss the really cold weather- everything is crisp and white.

Also this week, Germany was rated #1 as the best country in the world by US News and World Report, with the US in #4 position. While ranking low in categories of fun, culture, and adventure, the economic strength, quality of life, and political power all added up to the top slot.

It's hard to imagine what the future of Germany will bring. On the one hand, it has reached within the last decade the strongest political and economic power of Europe, and has lead the European project. I wouldn't say that the EU is failing, yet, but is certainly being shaken. Migrants, Greece, Brexit, the wide rise of nationalist European governments, and Putin's Russia are putting on a lot of pressure. And the typical German approach is conservative, and wait and see, which is at odds currently with Frau Merkel.

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