Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Citizens of the World

An intro to some short story ideas I have. Draft #1

You've probably lost track of the number of airplanes you've flown, or how many hours of your life have been spent in airports. You fly home at Christmas, maybe during the summer. Maybe once a year, maybe twice a year. You've been on a delayed flight before, you've been stuck on tarmac. You've been through a cloud before. You have a passport, your own personal suitcase, and a specific way that you like to sleep on an airplane. You may love or hate the way your stomach floats upwards when a plane gets off the ground, or the exhilirating rush you get when the pilot lands the plane, taxing down the runway at high speed.
How many schools have you been to? A few? A dozen? Maybe more depending on how many times you've moved. And when you talk about moving, you mean crossing the Atlantic, the Pacific, giant bodies of water that divide the world. You don't mean hopping in a car and driving for a day or two. You mean packing your house into a container that gets shipped to your new house by sea. You mean living in an apartment before you find a house to live in. You know what it's like to start over, and what it's like to have to line up at immigration, fight through customs, just to visit all the things you've left behind.
You know about the world, and you care. You know the names of countries that some people may not have heard of, you know the names of major world leaders, and you know who's fighting who, and who seems to be winning. Global, political issues, you talk about them with your friends, your parents, your teachers. 
You like experiencing new things and seeing new places. You've been inside a cathedral, a mosque, a temple. You know about religions, and you've probably met someone from all the ones that you know of. You've been at school when kids fasted during Ramadan, gave up meat and chocolate at Lent, celebrated light at Diwali. You know why your Sikh friend is wearing a turban, you know why people are celebrating the Lunar New Year.
 You have friends who are so completely different from you - from different nations, cultures and upbringings - but they are just like you, and when you talk about your life, they understand. You know the pain of Goodbye - you've had to say it more than once to many people, but eventually you realised that you really meant "see you again." You know how small the world really is, because you have friends everywhere. The girl who just moved to your school used to go to school in Kuala Lumpur, and your best friend just moved there. The new boy in your Biology class knows the captain of the football team because they went to school together when they lived in Mumbai. 
Often, people ask where you're from. Maybe you have a confident answer to give, and maybe you don't. But it's always an interesting question, always a topic for discussion. You're British? But you've lived in Guangzhou for five years? What was that like? You've been asked questions that to you seem hilarious, but to others seem plausible. You lived in Vietnam, is it safe, are you scared? You lived in Egypt, did you ride a camel to school? 
Your global upbringing has made you who you are. You may have questioned your nationality, your identity, your culture, your religion. Your beliefs, superstitions and customs have been challenged, your opinions influenced by multicultural individuals like yourself. You have seen things and done things you never would have at home. You know a lot about the world, but you understand that there is so much more to know. You have interesting things to say, good stories to tell. You have high expectations, big dreams and strong ambitions. You will do great things in life, and you plan to succeed.

That is because You, my friend, are a citizen of the world.

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