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Patrick Lamb recently posted about his being British on his Facebook account. Metropole, the English language city magazine for Vienna picked up on his post and asked to repost it. It made me think that as a last post before the Referendum I should consider my similar story. Hat tip to Mr. Lamb!
The last week has taken me to the UK and Croatia, where I have attended meetings with counterparts from central banks and supervisory authorities. My daily work sees me share an office with an Austrian and a Belgian – my customers within my department in the last few days have been Czechs and Poles. I’ve reminisced with a colleague of Albanian origin about my trip through from Han-e-Hotit to Pogradec staying in Tirana back in 2008. I’ve cheered the Welsh and the English at Euro 2016 and lamented the demise of the Home Nations Championship to my Austrian colleagues.
My facebook feed shows pictures from a Finnish friend settling in the Netherlands – with bottles of champagne in a bicycle basket. An Australian in Vienna has published an eBook about where to eat, visit etc. in Vienna and an Italian blogger is posting about the city that has become my home. A Slovak friend posts about interpreting facilities ahead of the Slovak Presidency of the EU.
At home I am greeted by my Russian wife and infant son (he’s British but has yet to visit the UK – that will change very soon!) and the fridge is full of goodies from around Europe (EU and beyond!) and a shopping list for the weekend to christen a new gas barbecue is growing (lavash anyone? Home-made cevapcici and pljeskavica?). A Dutch pram is ready to whisk my son off for fresh air at a minute’s notice. Swedish Bukowski bears hang from lampshades, and the wine rack includes a Swiss white. My screensaver flicks between images from Japan, Lake Baikal, Australia, Canada, and many from Europe – Sweden, San Marino and France from last year’s summer holidays.
I’ll meet up with fellow alumni and alumnae from the Scottish University I attended this weekend – I graduated 16 years ago yesterday. Following a hiatus in Euro 2016 there will also be the knock-out stage to enjoy. And maybe just maybe I’ll get that elusive Portugal player sticker I need for the Panini album.
Hopefully on Friday I awake on my birthday to the news of Britain having chosen to remain in the EU – after four months of bitter feuding between the camps, provided we stay in, Britain needs to “come to the party” and move forward – TOGETHER – with Europe. When life can be as diverse and varied as it is as part of the EU, why would you want to give that up?