Last night the leader of the British National Party was part of the panel on a BBC politics programme. I was glad he got the chance to be on the panel. Last time I checked Britain was a democracy with free speech and I thought it just that the leader of the BNP got a chance to speak his mind. I am an immigrant. I have been thinking of getting a t-shirt going "This Is What an Immigrant Looks Like". Maybe if I start wearing it, people will tell me why I’m wrong to be in the UK, why my presence is destroying Britain, just how I'm shattering social cohesion and in what way I'm inciting hatred. Also, I'd like to know why people want me to leave the man I love and thus ruin the life we have built together. If I wear my t-shirt, maybe the leader of the British National Party could tell me how my genetic make-up differs from his and why this alleged genetic difference makes me unwelcome in Britain in his eyes.
Earlier this month I was speaking with Anna about immigration and British politics. Our conversation made me wonder about the people who choose to become immigrants - that is, people like me - and whether we share a certain mentality or set of characteristics?
It takes a lot to uproot yourself from where you grew up and go live another country. It is not easy; it is not something you 'just do'. Once you are in that other country, you have to learn everything a-new. When do the banks open? Where do you go to buy electric bulbs? How do you get a library card? What is the difference between the various supermarkets? What's my clothes size? All this assumes that you are already fluent in the local language - if not, then you have to start learning that language or, in my case, get to grips with a particular local dialect.
I love living in Britain but it has been a long, labourious process getting to this stage. I love the beautiful landscapes with mountains and glens. I love being able to buy the books and records I want straight off the shelves rather than having to order them from abroad. I love tiny, unexpected things like bunting, rich tea biscuits, finding Roman coins, and Christmas stockings. But I still miss aspects of Denmark and I suspect I always will.
Ah, that reminds me of something which caused a kerfluffle among Danes yesterday (most people did not know whether to laugh or cry): Oprah Tours a Typical Danish Home. Because ALL Danes live like that. Uh huh. Absolutely. Yup.
Now I'm off to make myself some milky tea and some toast (how utterly radical of me!). I hope you have a lovely day no matter who you are and where you live. And be nice to your fellow human beings.