Sometimes I’ll do strange things or say strange things or try to drive on the left side of the road. When these things happen, my only response is to say, “Sorry, I lived in Europe.”

My friends, and specifically Jessica, have taken to automatically adding the hashtag part to the beginning of my inevitable apology. Because of that, I’m starting this little hashtag on my blog. I would like to make it its own category and tag so that people who come to my blog can see the different things that happen when one moves home after having lived in Europe.

One of the most recent events went like this.

I was driving to meet a group of friends for dinner at the new Italian place in town. It was dark out with the roads only lit by muted yellow street lights and blinding headlights from other cars. It was no wonder that I missed the right turn into the parking lot. I turned the car around in the next parking lot and prepared myself to make a now left turn into the lot of the Italian place.

When I went to make the turn, I automatically drove to the left side of the road.


Right in front of my car was the mother of all trucks. It had what seemed to be a three foot lift, monster truck tires, headlights on the top of the car, and roared in my direction.


In what can only be described as the most awkward zig-zag patterned driving, I jerked the car to the right and then to the left and back to the right again. The poor guy driving the truck wailed on his horn to let me know just how bad a driver I had been in that moment.

If only he could hear me in my car. I kept saying over and over, “I’m so so sorry! I lived in Ireland! They drive on the left there! I’m so sorry! I swear I’m not a bad driver! It only happens when I turn! I lived in Europe! I’m so so sorry! I’m sorry! I lived in Ireland! Please don’t hate me! I’m sorry!”

After what seemed like a small eternity, the mother of all trucks and I passed each other. I parked my car, breathed, and put the event behind me. It was just another moment of an American moving home from Europe.

Europe changes us. They do things differently there, and without us even really noticing it, we pick up on some of their habits.


17 thoughts on “#SorryILivedInEurope

  1. I have my #SorryILivedInEurope and #SorryILiveInAustralia moment on a regular base. We drive on the right side of the road in Switzerland and now in Australia on the left (or the wrong) side. And it still confuses me, especially after returning from the US or Europe. But it also confuses me now being back to driving on the right side… And it is the driving out or in of parking lots… mostly…

  2. What about #SorryILivedInAsia moments? WhenI was visiting the US over the summer I had all these weird moments when I wanted to bow to people, or touch my left hand to my right forearm when handing people things. And almost every time I used a public bathroom I had to remind myself that the toilet paper goes in the toilet and not in the trashcan, haha. So funny considering I spent my whole life without those habits, but then formed these new ones so quickly.

    1. Oh my gosh!!! I cannot wait till I can start to use that hashtag. I have a friend who recently returned from almost two years in Korea. He bowed to a man in the grocery store and apparently the guy looked at him like he was crazy! hahaha Oh my gosh. I cannot wait. We can captain that struggle bus together

    2. It took me about a solid month to stop the forearm touching thing when handing people stuff.
      Then there was the time I was sassed for standing too close to someone in an crowded airport boarding line and touching their backpack. I had forgotten all about the “no standing close enough to touch” rule in the Western world #SorryILivedInAsia

  3. Ugh! I’ve never had the “driving on the wrong side of the road” issue, but I always get grief for writing my dates “day-month-year” or spelling certain words like “honour” and “colour”, and at time’s I feel like that over zealous jerk but hey, it’s not my fault I like it spelled that way!

    Great post!


  4. After nearly 6 years in the UK I got on so many wrong trams during my first 2 weeks back in Germany – because the sides are switched, just like on the road! Got me really annoyed and my friends, too, because I was late all the time. I also kept saying hello and thank you to the bus driver. Something that’s taken for granted because Germans think “that’s their job and it’s what they’re paid to do”. #SorryILivedInTheUK

    Agree on the #SorryILivedInAsia hashtag. After spending just 4 weeks in Thailand I did the wai (Thai greeting consisting of a bow with the palms pressed together) everywhere, like in shops, pubs, etc. people back in Ireland thought I was mad! I quickly dropped that after a few days though..

    On another note: I’m looking forward to reading your big news soon! Happy holidays 🙂

  5. I had a similar driving on the wrong side of the road issue when I came home from the Netherlands. While I never drove in the Netherlands, I did cycle everywhere and like in the states, they drive on the right! On country roads where there are no road markings I sometimes find myself on the other side of the road, before correcting myself once I see another vehicle coming towards me!!!!

  6. Mine is #sorrywelivedinMexico so I would have to say mine is an ongoing addiction to speaking Spanish to anyone that looks like they might also speak Spanish. It’s how I practice and keep my Spanglish. Sometimes I meet the coolest people who are from the same region in Mexico where we lived. But once it got this or we got this.

    My wife and I were eating in a Mexican restaurant and we both spoke nothing but Spanish to the young waiter. He spoke back to us all Spanish but looked at us like aliens from Mars and said,’you speak Spanish! You really speak Spanish.’ It was so funny we both laughed at his expression of shock ad disbelief. Mind you we were in a small town in Alabama.

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