Thursday, January 5

Is Anyone From Here?

Will there come a point at which "International" is the new standard?

I´ve spent the last three weeks in the UK, beginning with a brief and drizzly spin around London´s center, and finding me here in Leicester, markedly more relaxed, but equally as multi-cultural.  With a population of only 300,000 people, I somehow assumed that would be more concentratedly English people.  Perhaps this is due to the city´s two university--University of Leicester and DeMontfort University, and the draw they have, particularly for students learning English and those persuing Britain´s 1-year taught Master´s degrees. 

Or perhaps I have no idea to what factors this is due.

What I do know is this:
The Subway restaurants advertise Halal meat in a green peel and stick star in their windows; the public libraries have not just shelves, but walls, devoted to books in Hindi, and half of the daily newspapers also; and you literally cannot walk more than a single block without seeing a language school or cultural center.

To further illustrate my point, of the four caucasian men I spoke to on New Year´s Eve, the ones I stereotyped on first sight as British; one was German, one American, one Australian, and only one from right here in Leicester.  This might even be an optimistic ratio.  On the streets, people speak French, Farsi, Hindi, Chinese, a number of languages I don´t actually recognize, English that I sometimes don´t recognize either, and, at least if I´m there with my friends, Spanish. 

The question is, though, that if a small, albeit recognized and established, city in England is so heavily international...and small cities throughout the US sport more and more signs in, restaurants of, and people who are Spanish, Arabic, Korean, and every other ethnicity imaginable...will there come a point at which pockets of citizens who are native to an area become the rarity...become...obsolete?  Is this only happening in English speaking countries?  Seoul, Buenos Aires, and Bogota had their foreigners, but fewer, and farther between.  In fact, in Seoul, some of the people trace their bloodlines back to ancient kings or, like, the beginning of time. 

In any case, I am pondering how it must be to wear headscarves or have stores that only women may enter.  And feeling still here that my blue eyes are a bit out of place.  And wondering how it would be, some day, if nobody came from anywhere, exactly, and certainly not from here.

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