English insularity versus continental craziness?

Some years ago, someone offered a bookcase on Freecycle. I wanted it.

The someone turned out to be a young German woman who was living in what seemed to be just one room in one of those very-hard-to-find addresses along Kingston Road (very close to where I am) that are very  different from some of the other hard-to-find addresses along Kingston Road (such as where I am). 

(I couldn’t find her address, no. I called her and she had to come outside, go into the street.)

How did she end up there? She had been married to an English guy who was in the military. Went to Afghanistan and in a nutshell. everything went pear-shaped. She was preparing to go back to Germany. Waiting for the divorce to come through. And had found some work here.

She and I, well, we ended up getting pizza (Papa Johns) and eating it at her place. 

The mere idea is bound to give any English person an instant heart attack!

But this is how most of the rest of the western world lives, folks.

And it scares the shit out of you English.

I continued to e-mail with her for a while after she had moved back to Germany. The last thing I heard from her was about either about going to talk about or having been hired for a job in Dubai. Not the Portsmouth shopping centre but the real Dubai.

Foreigners who have the audacity to go live in England, they go places.

English people, by contrast, are scared of even sharing a pizza.

That is an example of why life in England is so dreary and so limited for so many of you. 

This woman and I instantly crossed a ton of “otherisation” thresholds because she and I instantly knew that we had so much more in common than what set us apart.

And her bookcase is still in the same spot in my little office and I am still very happy with it. 

Yeah, we foreigners are really crazy. We socialize… We aren’t terrified of one another. Not as a rule in any case.

Also… this is how we crazy foreigners “network”.

When I started out as  a self-employed person, this sort of thing is how I got almost all my work. I used to know tons of people in all sorts of work fields. (And some people knew that, LOL.) On LinkedIn, I am now connected with some of the people I used to work with because they remember me. From decades ago. From before I went to university in quite a few cases. Crazy, isn’t it?

Let go. Be free.

Here’s to you, Meike.

What I learned? English vets – veterans – coming back from Afghanistan were not getting the support that they needed.

Okay, maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe it’s – also – me. In the Netherlands, a guy told me and only me about his wife’s suicide attempt. Until then, we had no idea why he was missing meetings, which was so out of the ordinary for him. (I don’t think I told anyone else, after that, as there was no point, though I must have mentioned to at least one person that I knew what was going on.) Another guy told me and nobody else what was going on in his family, why he had been missing many meetings; the next thing I was told was that he never shared anything with anyone, by someone who had been on the same team much longer than I and who would have loved to know more and assist if he could. In the UK, one woman told me about the affair she’d had with someone she should have married but did not because she was waiting for her partner to return from abroad – which he never did; instead he let her know he was marrying someone else. And then she said that she’d never never even told anyone about that second relationship. In the Netherlands, a woman told me about the relationship she was having with a neighbour that she did not think her daughters would understand. And some other stuff. So, maybe, it is – also – me? If so, what does it mean? I am just like everyone else. Just as fallible and human.

What it means?

  1. Forgive yourself. For anything.
  2. There is no right way or wrong way for living your life. Just live it (already).

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