Or shall I say, 10 Things I Have Discovered as an Ex-Pat Which I Found Simply Amazing.
On a recent trip across America, I naturally felt like a stranger in a strange land. Things have moved on and changed a lot during the years of my travels. But some things never change, and I found myself in hundreds of casual conversations across the continent, engaging in the same sort of message repeatedly, a message about things I never knew when I grew up there, and now would like to share with you FYI. So I thought I would sum it up here once and for all:
1. Europe exists. Really.
2. It has in fact been around for thousands of years (you may have heard of, for example, the Roman Empire).
3. If you look on a map, it's to the right across the water.
4. Surprisingly, the people there do not live in poverty, nor are they backwards, idle or incompetent technologically, financially or otherwise. They invent and/or start up things. Some European countries even have movie stars.
5. Many exciting and even good things happen in Europe, political, social, economic, etc. which you will never hear about in your media, hence leading to the idea that it no longer exists. Believe me: it does.
6. There are many fashionable, smart, chic people in Europe who speak, on a regular basis, sometimes three or four languages besides English. Many of these ordinary folk, not diplomats or BBC newsmen, can switch quite fluidly from one language to another mid-sentence. Try learning that in your schools.
7. They have governments and prime ministers who, believe it or not, can sometimes act very smart and are well-educated and make important decisions (see Borgen). Their armies even participate in various wars around the world to defend the free world.
8. London, the real one, is not in Canada but in the U.K. (this I've had to emphasise to you frequently in my travels) and is a super-important international financial hub in the world. Also, Geneva is an actual city, not just a Convention, and is home to the U.N., the International Red Cross and other major peace-keeping global organisations.
There are many other big, beautiful cities in Europe.
9. Many European countries provide socialised medical care for their citizens, and it works. In other words, there are actually people who do not have to live in fear of getting sick and not being able to afford a doctor. This, to them, seems normal and there are many thousands of such well-cared for people throughout Europe, even England.
10. Biggest news yet: beyond Europe, there are other countries! You will not hear about them in your media but you will find them if you follow your finger to the right (or to the left) of your world map and keep going. They too, surprisingly, have civilised cultures full of intelligent people who do interesting and even funny things and often, important world events take place in their countries.
Essential knowledge: Many of them want to work together for a better world.
America, I love your wide-eyed wonder and enthusiasm to learn about these things and I hope to share more with you when we next meet again. See you soon.
P.S. I love you.