Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Europa, Europa

Sometimes I'm asked what are the differences between living in Spain (which I have generalized to include Europe) and the US (specifically Buffalo which is similar to many American cities).  I've narrowed them down to 5:

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  
                          Leaving Europe                  

Paths lead
from town to
medieval town,
cathedral bones
stick out,
bells toll centuries.
The solemnity
of a saint´s day
We crowd to touch
the body of christ
while drums
pound out
God´s arrival. 

Ocean jet buzz
brings me across
to America,
empire of things,
following the white
highway line
into deep deep sleep.

1 comment:

  1. In Europe the human rights are so far under control but I don't think this is going to last much anyway. Health car, education, transportation and vacation at work are human rights that star to be cut too fast. Unless people react to defend what they got it seems everything is in danger for new and bad changes.