It's fascinating coming to Europe once a year. Every year. At the same time. There's always interesting new stuff, most of it imported from the US, it seems. Here's what's new this year, as far as I can tell:

1) Germany is getting fatter. My husband and I keep exchanging bug-eyed glances at all the seriously overweight -- and also truly obese -- people we see (kids included), which certainly wasn't the case when I first encountered this country a decade or so ago. (Yes, I'm that old.)

Global_village2) KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Starbucks, Subway, Tortilla Chips, Dr. Pepper, Onion Rings, etc., etc., etc. Now available in Germany, too! See #1a, above.

3) Diabetiker Eis, which is German for "diabetic ice cream." All the Gelato cafes seem to be carrying it now. More proof that diabetes is on the rise here. We figured out that two rather small scoops of this ice cream, made with skim milk, must have about 45g of carbohydrates. Now if this is the option recommended for diabetics, I'd hate to know how many carbs are in two scoops of the real stuff. Give me Dreyer's No Sugar Added ice cream any day. Only 16g per half-cup. Which is surely on it's way to Europe along with every other American product enjoying success on the home turf.

4) The rise of the Tweens. That is, 10 and 11-year olds with highlighted hair, expensive ripped jeans, cell phones, and all the trappings of disrespectful Teenagers. So much for Old World deference to your elders. (See #1b, above).

Review: All the same issues plaguing America. Maybe some of these were already present in Europe last year, but they really hit me over the head this time. I consider it all fallout of the Global Village phenomenon. And I'm the proverbial Chicken Little, shouting "the sky is falling!" Somebody's got to do it.

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