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Austin recognized as one of the most diverse cities in America

Austin recognized as one of the most diverse cities in America By Elizabeth Rhodes 5.17.15 | 11:18 am     Austin ranks No. 20 in overall diversity. Amplify Austin/ I Live Here, I Give Here The results of a new study indicate that five Texas cities — including Austin — are among the 20 most diverse places in America.  WalletHub's 2015 Most Diverse Cities in America study ranks Austin No. 20 for overall diversity. Houston ranks No. 7, followed by Fort Worth at No. 12, Arlington at No. 14 and Dallas at No. 16.  To identify the most diverse cities in America, the personal financial site analyzed 230 cities across four major categories: economic class diversity, ethno-racial and linguistic diversity, economic diversity, and household diversity.  It found that Austin ranked No. 12 for economic class diversity. We ranked No. 52 for ethno-racial and linguistic diversity, No. 56 for diversified economies, and No. 162 for household diversity.  All of the top five cities are located in California: Los Angeles (No. 1), Long Beach (No. 2), San Diego (No. 3), Anaheim (tied for No. 3) and Sacramento (No. 5).    http://austin.culturemap.com/news/city-life/05-17-15-austin-recognized-as-one-of-the-most-diverse-cities-in-america/      

Kaisa Kokkonen

Kaisa Kokkonen

 

Austin named one of the 10 friendliest cities in America

Quote from CultureMap article "What they say about Texas charm must be true, because Travel + Leisure says Austin is one of the friendliest cities in the U.S. The 15 cities on the list were determined by the magazine's most recent America’s Favorite Cities survey. "Readers ranked 38 metro areas for such inviting features as wine bars, pizza and luxury shopping — along with the conviviality of the locals who might be serving drinks, ringing up your order or just offering directions outside your hotel," explains T+L. Winning cities also scored well for "pedestrian-friendly streets, cool boutiques, coffee houses, and even communal, picnic-table-equipped food truck pods." Is it any surprise that Austin ranked in the top 10? At No. 10 on the list, Austin is championed as "highly social." "You can find chatty locals jogging around Lady Bird Lake (they ranked at No. 5 for being fit), taking a dip in the bracing waters of Barton Springs, or just waiting in line for the legendary brisket and trimmings at East Austin’s Franklin Barbecue," says T+L. The magazine also touts our brainy locals — who enjoy perusing the shelves of BookPeople — and our ranking as a top spot for singles." http://austin.culturemap.com/news/city-life/05-14-15-austin-no-10-friendliest-city-in-america/

Kaisa Kokkonen

Kaisa Kokkonen

 

This Road is Life

Travel is a privilege. Regardless of how you do it, there comes a time in one’s life when we realize that travel is more than just checking places off our bucket lists, and becomes something to be savored like a glass of fine wine. At a certain point in my adult life, I stopped marking the atlas my parents gave me in elementary school, and started to look for something beyond the wonders of the world. It took years of searching, travel ennui, and dissatisfaction with my personal life, to realize that what I really was searching for, is myself.  No matter where I went, no matter what I experienced, I just couldn’t see beyond what I was looking at. There I was, sitting 11,000 ft up atop the Vistadome of Machu Pichu, staring at the clouds below me, and wondering what the f*** am I doing here. Was this supposed to be a meaningful experience? Why was everyone else so enthralled with Peru, and why was I the only one who thought the destination guides over promised and under delivered? Maybe it was the rough time I was going through at that point in my life, but like so many people I know, I fell for the usual travel sales pitch, that somewhere, out there was a life altering experience, and that all I had to do was book it. They say hindsight is always 20/20, so looking back through my newly enlightened eyes, I see the foolishness in attempting to find myself following a guide book. A book is simply an account of someone else’s experience. It can tell you where to go and what to see, but if you follow the instructions they’ll only lead to a place you can check off your list. It wasn’t until I completely gave up on travel as the crutch that was going to get me through life, that I started to notice a shift in my perspective. The less I studied the destination, and the less I cared about the itinerary, the more I began to wander aimlessly. I let go of guides, safety rules, must see lists, and advance reservations, and went wherever I was inspired. Most of the time, I just showed up unannounced and unprepared to places like Chiang Mai, Bratislava, Tunis, and Ixtapa. That is when I started to understand why Brahmins and Buddhist monks give up all their possessions, shed all their clothes, shave their heads, put on a cloth, and set off on the road going nowhere. Once they walk away from rules, routine, responsibility and safety, with nothing but a rice bowl as their only possession, they never return. As a child, I found this concept daunting, but now I see the unbridled freedom they gain from the experience. Really, you must try it to see the magic that happens when you truly let go. Each of those experiences in wandering freely, has turned into the most spectacular journey of life altering consequences. I can’t tell you about the destinations because they are meaningless. The meaning was in the journey itself. It was in facing an unfamiliar, unsafe destination without a plan. Standing at the edge of a jungle without a map or clean water, and finding help in a third world country without American Express concierge services.  And kissing a tiger. The greater gift I received from these wanderings, was a huge appreciation for solitude, and in that I found myself. There is nothing like facing the world alone, and it is something I urge everyone to discover. There is a good reason why Brahmins find a lonely path of their own, and it’s because you can’t find enlightenment following someone else’s. For those of you who are still searching for something bigger from life, trust me, this is it. You’ll find that what is at the end of the road to be totally meaningless. There is a worthless emptiness to the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum in Rome, even the Great Pyramids. At the end of your life, will you regret not seeing any of them? What you might regret is not taking the road less traveled and discovering who you are on the way. If you don't get lost, you'll never find yourself.   Instagram The S Blog (The Adventures of S) Facebook profile                  

Sherry K

Sherry K

 

Who am I?

Since its inception in 2011, EuroCircle’s travel program has expanded to include more travelers and more exotic locales. The more new people join the group, the more potential travelers ask me: Who are you? It never occurred to me to actually introduce myself to these strangers who throw caution to the wind, and fly half-way across the world to meet me in a place like Siem Reap, Cambodia. So before you buy your airfare to Namibia this year, here is a brief introduction, and feel free to contact me with any travel related questions. 5 years ago, I was going through a drastic change in my life, and when such things happen, we all want to take extreme measures and do something different. So rather than shave my head or join a monastery, I decided to do what all those self-help books encourage you to do, live life to the fullest, make every day spectacular, and most of all, have a lot of fun along the way. Little did I know, that sending an email invitation to random EuroCircle members to meet me in Istanbul for a short vacation, was going to turn into an annual adventure across the globe. I also didn’t know, that those random strangers who show up to my adventures would actually turn out to be the coolest people in the world, that each one would bring something special to the journey, or that we would be building friendships that last a lifetime. I try to keep that in mind as I plan every future journey. It takes a whole year to coordinate 16 strangers from various parts of the world, get them to board correct flights and to land into a dusty airstrip in a remote desert. It takes a whole lot of patience and sensitivity (qualities I do not possess) to deal with a wide variety of personalities, expectations and temperaments. And, it takes a lot of perseverance, to not say to hell with it all, and let someone else deal with this project. I often get asked, why I actually do this, and the simple fact is that I can’t stop. Now that the travel program has turned into something bigger than me, I see how much I take away from each trip. It’s not just the amazing friends I made along the way, it’s the experiences that pushed my boundaries and allowed me to see the world I have traversed dozens of times from a whole new perspective. My travelers comment how much I have changed as a person since that first trip we took together, that they almost don’t recognize me any more. I have to admit that petting a tiger, crawling into a tomb, eating a bug, chasing the big 5 on safari, climbing Machu Pichu and bungee jumping off Victoria Falls (this year’s goal) has turned me into someone who no longer takes things seriously, laughs hysterically at life, and welcomes change no matter what it brings. So how can I give this up? It will never happen. As I write this, I am about to click the send button one more time, and see who answers my invitation. Tens of thousands of EuroCircle members will receive an email with my next destination and not much more in terms of details. Who will show up in Africa this October? My guess is they will be young, they will be hungry, hopefully one will be gorgeous ;), but really, the type of person who packs his bags and accepts an invitation from a complete stranger, has too be a little crazy, very courageous, and ready for something awesome. Sherry Kumar runs EuroCircle Philadelphia, and organizes trips for interested EuroCircle members.  She is a Digital Marketer of Financial Services in her professional life. You may contact her directly via our members only forum,  or send travel related inquiries only via email. Instagram The S Blog (The Adventures of S) Facebook profile

Sherry K

Sherry K

 

Balena (Italian)

http://balenachicago.com/ Mid Up scale Italian restaurant...that s Balena. We had the sardines on a bread of chickpea fritters...awesome. These were smaller than their counterpart at Publican but still satisfying. The Sardines themselves were overpowering to the sauce and onions and other ingredients but the chickpea fritters worked very well with the sardines...recommended The pizza was par or even below average. We had the pomodoro anchovies and capres. The anchovies and capres are an interesting combination but don t work well. They work just too competing tastes. The rest of the pizza was ok, nothing to call home about. My GF liked the crust a lot, I wasn t that impressed. Then she made me try black pasta and urchins which I must admit was nice but not a mouth orgasm...although this is her favorite dish in all of Chicago so... The pasta could have been much stronger in taste but I had not slept for 2 days so maybe that was why I wasn t a huge fan like her and just thought they were just...ok Overall the crowd was older as it was Steppenwolf's gala next door. The decor was nice but the high level leather chairs were not my favorite. I like to have my feet on the ground when I eat and half the ground floor has those high seats, not my favorite. Ambience was nice and not too loud and would do fine for a date although it is not a walking distance from anything and you need to drive to the place. Overall prices were very fair for the style and location and I would recommend giving it a try

Christophe Rouchon

Christophe Rouchon

 

The Bad Finnish Habits I Kicked in The USA

The Bad Finnish Habits I Kicked in the USA The Bad American Habits Tim Walker Kicked in Finland - From to-go mugs to small talk I read that story above about this guy  - Tim Walker - who moved to Finland with his wife Johanna who is Finnish, he is an American teacher - and they have two kids.  There are always habits that other nations consider odd (bad?) - and some that are an improvement. Do we want to remain the same? Change isn’t  always a bad thing. Since moving to NEW YORK CITY twenty plus years ago, I’ve kicked a few odd (bad) Finnish habits AND picked up some bad American habits.  Let's compare what this fellow consider bad habits he was able to kick AMERICAN HABIT:  Fear of awkward silences.  The Finns embrace  silence.  They consider it’s a part of the natural rhythm of human interaction. Sure, Finns know how to have conversations, but they’re not driven by a compulsion to fill time and space with needless chatter. He now feels OK not chatting all the time. FINNISH HABIT:  Be unreadable, no expressions, no words. The Finns also do not always understand other nationalities require some sign during a conversation that tells the others you are understanding - you are OK, you agree, disagree - any sign what so ever. Unfortunately many Finns miss that when speaking in English, just a different culture and way of discussing. I have learned to say SOMETHING...whether it is "indeed, really, I got it...". AMERICAN HABIT:  Saying things you don’t mean. In Finland, people take you at your word.  He endeavored to say only what he means. I am have tried to learn to chat a bit more the American way. FINNISH HABIT:  Don't say anything.  Had to learn small talk and understand how to do it the "Finnish" way - no BS, but still be polite.  AMERICAN HABIT:  Leave food on you plate.  The lesson, you can always take more, don't waste food, too many people starve in this world.  In Finland we try to only take what we eat.  AMERICAN HABIT:  Coffee to go!!  Europeans don’t take coffee to go!” Sit down and enjoy it, the Finns drink twice as much coffee as Americans. FINNISH HABIT: Drink coffee all the time. I have come down to one latte (not Finnish) a day. AMERICAN HABIT:  Order in some food instead of making good food yourself. Guilty as charged, not so much at all in Austin - but in NYC I ordered in Vietnamese food all the time when I was working at E&Y. AMERICAN HABIT: Don't get naked in front of other people even if they are of same gender.  Ugh, I still recall going to Equinox on UWS and Reebok and most women very much hiding under their clothes/towels changing into their clothes. Meanwhile if you grew up in Finland you are used to going to sauna (NAKED) with other women like yourself so not a big deal what so ever, I was always very comfortable with my nudity. No, that does not mean I'd like to go to sauna with any men, my boyfriend yes but not with anyone else. FINNISH HABIT ON MAY 30: Go out, wear your Finnish white/black cap (high school grad) and get totally wasted. The worst or the best night to go out in Helsinki depending what you like. An example of a Finnish joke: “An introverted Finn looks at his shoes when talking to you; an extroverted Finn looks at your shoes”. That is really NOT true for the people who come from Savo or Karjala (like me), we talk a lot more. Just meet my friend Heli Bergius or myself, my boyfriend is a New York Jew who say we "yap" a lot.  Not like Long island girls but we can certainly hold on to any conversation if needed, though Heli beats me anytime    

Kaisa Kokkonen

Kaisa Kokkonen

 

Desperate Residents of Austin Completely Surrounded by Texas

Dear fellow Austinites, I know many Austin residents have never been to New York City, not to mention lived there.  I lived in NYC 17 years, in fact I have never lived in any other apartment or house as long as I lived on Upper West Side on West 88th Street (between West End Avenue & Riverside Drive).  I loved it there.  The real New Yorkers to me are really straight forward, fast, funny - and they love The New Yorker. I laughed aloud when I saw today's article about Austin residents online. Ugh...such NY humor. Borowitz Report - Desperate Residents of Austin Completely Surrounded by Texas Direct quote: "In a deepening humanitarian crisis, residents of the city of Austin report that they are completely surrounded by Texas, a situation that locals are calling “dire.” Austin has traditionally enjoyed freedoms as a semi-autonomous region, hosting film festivals and literary events without the interference of its hostile neighbors, but there are growing fears that those days may be coming to an end.  Alarmingly, citizens of Austin report, extremists within the city limits have taken over the Capitol Building and installed a militant government with dominion over its residents. In recent days, Austin has made desperate requests for assistance to the U.S. military, which will be conducting exercises in Texas in July. The city is hoping that the United States will use its military might to liberate the isolated municipality and transform it into an independent state along the lines of Kurdistan. "               Funnily enough I was just talking today about Kurdistan with Kambiz Shabankare who is running a crowdfunding campaign to do a documentary in Kurdistan/Syria - and we talked about NYC...(Kambiz was just target for random violence and did not get treated very fairly by the local police if I understood correctly, he does our movie club nights in Austin as well) http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/desperate-residents-of-austin-completely-surrounded-by-texas

Kaisa Kokkonen

Kaisa Kokkonen

 

Welcome to Europeans in Austin Blog!

Welcome everyone!!  Each and every EuroCircle member can now have their own blog than can be read by ANYONE if you want them to able to do that.  Try it out!  Add a cover photo, come up with a name  for your blog and start blogging -  keeping in mind that this is a community for Europeans/people interested in Europe!

Kaisa Kokkonen

Kaisa Kokkonen

 

Parlor Pizza (Sportsbar Food)

http://www.parlorchicago.com/ Ok Parlor Chicago is a cool place to go with lots of friends when you want to watch a game. A DJ plays tunes during commercials and switches on the game sound when something interesting happens. We tried the Brussels sprouts which were not mushy enough but ok. Fries were saggy and could have been awesome. Burger was ok but nothing to call home about. The best thing was the Pizza. We had the Party Fowl which was the best thing on the table. Desert was a sinful 7000 calories Fried Gelato with icecream covered cinnamon toast crunch, whipped cream and strawberries...yeah that decadent. The place was nicely designed and well made for when you want to watch a game and get carb loaded while eating in a young meat market with your friends $50 for two with no drinks or alcohol

Christophe Rouchon

Christophe Rouchon

 

Cafe Iberico (Spanish)

I don t think there is anything that most Chicagoans do not know of Cafe Iberico already http://www.cafeiberico.com/ My favorite tapas in chicago...located on Lasalle and chicago Have any of you been there? their goat cheese and tomatoes paste is killer

Christophe Rouchon

Christophe Rouchon

 

La Sardine (French)

http://www.lasardine.com Yep, if you are looking for a cool French ambiance restaurant, this is the place to take your significant other. The menu is well priced. Major items you should try are: Onion soup, Steak Frites, Mussels just to name a few. The decor is similar to a french Bistro in Paris but on the upper side of the range and without people smoking at the bar and ordering expressos. La Sardine is my favorite French restaurant in Chicago and as French guy living in Chicago I can say this is on the top of the list from the 5 or 6 other French places (which we will review soon). If you have been to La Sardine please be sure to comment about your experience below This is just a quick blog on the place...more details coming as I clean the blog app

Christophe Rouchon

Christophe Rouchon

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