So I'm back in England. Also known as the country of multiculturalism
The country where you hear about 20 different foreign languages spoken around you everyday ( one of them being Cockney English) , the country where you sometimes meet people who call themselves British. I met one or 2 since I got back.
What binds us all together? The weather. Just kidding , I meant British humour ... and our experience.
England feels like Home for me too. But it wasn't always like that. I'm French , remember? I was taught the french and the Brits did not go well together at SCHOOL . Then What happened? I went and lived there for 4 years. And I realized that the Brits are just people like you and me. They just eat bad food but they 're still cheerful.
Also, after living with foreigners in a bakcpackers' hostel for years I finally understood that we all have a very different vision of Life and there is no '' England on a shoestring'' travel guide book guidebook that can replace YOUR experience of it . You can describe Big Ben , Covent Garden ( BORING) but you can't describe Life . You can only share your experience of it, and tell people to go see for themselves.
If you start to take other people experiences for granted, you NEVER go anywhere.
You know how you can guess where a traveller is from? Ask him/ her to describe the country they dislike the most .
It is very likely they will describle their own country ( except the french who will automatically describe the country they're currently in. Even if they love it. Complaining is in our genes. And we love to be the exception)
Have you noticed how we think people smile more when you're on a holiday abroad and when you come back to your Home country , people look miserable and unhappy?
The grass is way greener on the other side...
I had the same feeling when I got back from Australia to England ( and it's not even my country. Confused yet?. No , I would not have coped with France at the time)
I meet that Aussie girl from Tasmania on the plane back. I was ''forced'' to leave Oz and She was willing moving to England ''forever'' .
My first question was simple : WHY?
Because Australia is boring ... mate.
I took the tube with her warning her about thongs , flips flops and marmite while she looking at London suburbian houses with total fascination and a silly grin on her face.. Me? I had my eyes closed , trying to breathe and attempting to picture my favourite beach in Oz in order to avoid a rush hour panic attack.
Her England is my Australia.
I recently met this guy who lives in Cambodia. He's on a 3 week break to visit England.
'' People are not nice here , they're so busy and overworked. they don't give a s***'', '' he says
'' You haven't been to France yet ,have you? They moan all the time, and they have like a dictator at the head of the country and they are all freaking out .'' I answer.
So where are you from then? I finally ask
'' Oh I'm from London. You?'' He replies quite naturally.
'' I'm french ''
My France is his England.
Some other people moan about the weather in this country, the lack of work opportunities. How much tastier sangria is in Spain , how crap baguettes are here. Did I mention the cheese? I wonder how many sorts of cheddar England has. Probably as many as cheap , crap wines or Earl Grey teas.
Yes , we're all the same. We're all moaning at whatever country because it's easier than facing the fact that our problems are inside of us.We want to feel safe. So we all have a different way to cope ( but we all blame the weather )
For those of you who have ever been to Thailand you might have seen that Tee shirt that (almost) EVERYONE buys on Khao San Road. It says '' Same same'' on the front and '' But different'' on the back. Damn right mate.
That's when we invented globalization ... In an ideal world Starbucks and Mac Donalds were meant to make people feel safe EVERYWHERE .
Then you realize that a bloody Mac fish and chips won't make you feel you feel at home in England and won't help you belong where you are if you are not safe within yourself.
So you don't feel great AND you get fat . D'oh.
So where the F**** do we go to be happy?
Within. No air fare , no jet lag, no change of plans . Respect who you are so you can respect the people you're with, no matter where they are from .
It's not where you are that matters ( it's still preferable to pick a place in the Sun , by the ocean though) , it's your will to embrace a new culture ( and keep your own) that really counts. And we all need to accept that our cultural differences are a gift to us all. They are what makes us keen on exploring, discovering and challenging ourselves.
Same , same but different..
That is exactly what Britain is brilliantly good at . The Brits take new people on board wherever they are from ( holding an EU passport helps, though) and welcome them for who they are without getting too involved either while happily taking the piss out of themselves having cups of teas in front of Coronation Street.
Just be you. Do and express what YOU are passionate about.
Because in the end, we're all the same... And the only way we can make it, is TOGETHER.