Berlin Law Firm - September 2019

LEX CANIS THE Lee Berlin Kyle Killam

No Place Like Home Lessons From London

Until this summer, I didn’t know I could appreciate Tulsa, Oklahoma, more than I already did. As I mentioned in last month’s article on local businesses, we live in a great town full of kind, generous people of all stripes. What more is there to

Having been wowed by the people of Melbourne, we had high hopes for what London would have to offer. We even booked an experience through Rick Steves’ tours, as his package gave us more time to explore the city than only a Steve Furgal’s Wimbledon tour. After all, our trip to the French Open last year included a Rick Steves’ tour, and Estelle and I appreciated the extra time we had to explore Paris. But let me tell you, London was not worth the time. After the second day of tours, we’d seen enough of the city on the Thames. First, Big Ben was under construction. The one famous landmark of the London skyline was covered in scaffolding, and the rest of the “sights” on our tour were utterly unremarkable. Estelle’s a huge Downton Abbey fan, but the museums and homes of old London didn’t even live up to the mystique of the show. Londoners exist because the stuff is horrible. I’ve never wanted a simple hamburger so badly in my life. Thankfully, there was a pretty Americanized steak restaurant near our hotel. Normally, we try and eat like the locals when we travel, but our first few meals were so bad that we made an exception. However, by far, the worst surprise of the trip had to be the people of London themselves. Before we went, we had this perception of English people being polite to a fault, but that wasn’t the case. Everywhere we went, people turned their noses up at us, and And then there was the food. Oh, the food. For the life of me, I don’t know how fat

the “customer service” we received was begrudging at best.

Even our own tour guide was unprofessional. At one point, she went on an anti-Trump, anti-America tirade, and, at that point, I’d had it. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions, but when you have a captive audience of people who’ve paid you for something as innocent as a city tour, it’s not the time nor place to get up on your soapbox, especially when you aren’t even talking about your own country. We switched over to the Steve Furgal tour, and that saved the rest of our vacation. We got a better hotel and went on tours with like-minded business professionals who appreciate the value of capitalism. Still, when our plane touched down and the captain said, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tulsa,” I don’t think Estelle and I have ever breathed a heavier sigh of relief. If there’s one thing I’ve taken away from these travels, it’s that we really do live in the greatest country in the world. Being in the military, I always knew that anecdotally, but I didn’t have any personal experience to back it up. Now, having done as much jet setting as I have, I can say I’ve never been more grateful to be an American and to call Tulsa home. – Lee Berlin

say? The only problem I’ve found with Tulsa is that after you’ve spent enough time here, you can forget how good you have it. My wife, Estelle, and I first realized this during our trip to the Australian Open. The kindness and laid-back attitudes of the people of Melbourne reminded us so much of Oklahoma that we felt like we’d stumbled upon a real home away from home. While we appreciated Australia for how similar it felt to Tulsa, we came to love our home city even more when we went to London. Let’s just say our trip to Wimbledon this summer was less than relaxing. Wimbledon was the last and most famous grand slam on Estelle’s and my tennis bucket list. We planned to go in a year or two, but whispers of Roger Federer’s potential retirement have been growing louder every year, and we absolutely had to see him play in person at Wimbledon before that happened. So, we bit the bullet on our one- vacation-per-year rule and packed our bags.

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