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Friday, 29 August 2008

Lunch today at the wonderful restaurant Hervi with my friend Stephanie. She told me she had a dream the night before where I lay Ophelia-like on a chaise longue while she and her doctor friend Isabel discussed my health problems. "Well of course women of her colouring are particularly prone to oracular blockage' was Isabel's diagnosis. I'm not one for Freud but I took it as a sign that oracle or not I must write to you all with the goings on here in Aragon and how they compare with the increasingly mind boggling antics of the Brits back home. The longer I stay away the madder Britain becomes.There seems to be a lot in the press on British identity and now I am no longer there it all seems quite alien and something I really can't identify with which is surely something 'British', the fact I don't need to have an identity. There seems such an urgent need to sum up what it means to be British and in any of the programmes on this subject you'll see the public being asked 'what is Britishness?' and none of them really know what it is. They give the usual crass answer of roast beef or curry when what binds them all is X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing. Someone who was a prisoner in Guantanamo seemed miffed when the Americans told him that the Queen Mother had died because as a Brit they thought he would want to know. I thought how British of him, how punk rock, anti-establishment! John Lydon would be proud. It also says more about the Americans that they felt this to be of importance and saw this man as first and foremost a Brit despite his political or religious leanings. It is very easy to think that everyone hates us, our dominant language, our way of life, our supposed arrogance and hypocrisy but they keep on coming and copying so we must be doing something right. I speak with some authority on this. As a foreigner abroad you gain an insight on how you see yourself and how others see you. You are either put on a pedestal or you are doomed to be pushed off one you didn't even know you were occupying. I can't speak for the rest of Spain but the Aragonese can not cope with foreigners unless they can pigeonhole you. It's no good telling them you are Irish if you sense an anti-English vibe in the room because the inevitable 'North or South? comes into question and it won't be long before the faults of the Irish start to surface. I have narrowed it down to "I'm from London' because I am and it stops any arguments and discussions for which you do not want to get involved in with an Aragonese because you will be tying your neck to a rope and flinging yourself off a bell tower before daybreak. Then again if I hear the term 'Team GB' once more I might be persuaded.................................

1 comment:

Lucy said...

Hey Ana-Maria, Lovely to read your witty observations and notes from another land. Keep it up! Lucyx