1. Universal health care in Europe (and in many other parts of the world). You won't find the tragic story of a family losing a home or land because of medical bills in Europe. This did, in fact, happen to my family here in the US.
2. Vacation. If you aren't working freelance and you have a job (from the lowest level position to the highest), you have a minimum 4 week paid vacation in Europe. Enough said.
3. Safety. I could walk in Barcelona at any time of the night and feel safe. There is gun control so that element of danger isn't present. Here in Buffalo, I have personally witnessed 2 shootings (at a community center where I worked) and a lockdown (also at work).
4. Public transport. In Barcelona I could arrive wherever I wanted by subway, tram, bus, or walking. Here in Buffalo a car is necessary for shopping (most places including big supermarkets are outside of the city) or to have some semblance of a social life- going out at night.
5. Food. In Europe, food is still a pleasure, not guilt inducing. Even at the largest holiday meals I never heard someone regret the delicacies they'd just consumed. Portions aren't enormous but flavor often is. Food is a celebration, not just fast.
Of course, there are positive things to being here but that's for another blog.
So then, a poem from my chapbook:
What I´ve Lost
from town to
bells toll centuries.
of a saint´s day
We crowd to touch
the body of christ
Ocean jet buzz
brings me across
empire of things,
following the white
into deep deep sleep.