Feb 22 2008

A Love Letter

Published by at 10:41 am under Travel

Dear Europe,

It is with mixed emotion that I leave you, after five months of living with you. You’ve given me the best experiences of my life thus far, and I will never forget you. Unfortunately, in return, you’ve taken all of my dollars, you wily minx, you, so I must bid you adieu.

Who are you, Europe? Do you know? You are immensely proud of your glorious past, that’s for certain. It’s true: you were the shining star of centuries come and gone. Now you are fiercely defensive, insistent that your fifteen minutes are not over. You’ve jumped the shark, mon cher, and it’s time to face it.

Is there room for you, Europe, with all your history and art, in this internet age? Globalization is knocking at your door, threatening to dissolve individual cultures and identities. Is it possible to modernize without forsaking your heritage? You must find a way, Europe. Nations of the world will once more look to you for guidance as their cultures become endangered. This is your opportunity to lead again!

You’re an interesting place, Europe (I know, you hate it when I refer to you as a collective). Your tiny little space on the globe is jam-packed with dozens of distinct nationalities, all attempting to coexist despite centuries-long political, religious, and racial strife. Thank God for football where all remaining tensions can be played out on the field.

Not only are all your bits and pieces trying to live peacefully together, you must tolerate the ever-increasing influx of foreigners landing on your shores each day. I’ve never been to a place that both desperately loves and loathes tourists as much as you, Europe. It kills you to admit it: I know, you need me, don’t you? And yet you want to wring my little American neck, too. Thankfully, we have the Germans, our common scapegoat, who everyone in Europe loves to hate. It’s okay: let’s all hate them, so we don’t have to hate each other! They are ridiculous, aren’t they?

I feel comfortable with you, Europe. I feel as if you could plop me down in any one of your magnificent cities and I’d have a pretty good idea of how to get around. Thank you for making me confident that I could make a life in a foreign land, something I never knew or trusted about myself before. Unfortunately, my complacency with you is just another sign that it’s time to go.

Once in Prague, we recognized, amongst all the Czech, a woman speaking Greek, and we were able to greet her in her native tongue. On my very last day with you, I decided to take an early-morning walk to the Sacre Coeur to enjoy the beautiful, misty Parisian views one last time. While walking back, I was approached by two Spanish-speaking tourists. They asked me for directions in very uncertain French, and were surprised when I was able to direct them using Spanish.

So, thank you, Europe, for making me feel like a woman of the world even though I know I am so not.

Thank you, with your smorgasbord of ethnicities, your natives, immigrants and visitors, for showing me that everyone in the world is so different, but also so much the same.

You have stolen my heart; I will return. Until then, mon amour…



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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A Love Letter”

  1. John Matthewon 22 Feb 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Aww. I’m gettng teary.

  2. Europeon 22 Feb 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Please don’t return until you learn how to squat without peeing all over the toilet seat.

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