"I do not envy the joys of Europe, the greatness that is enclosed in it (...)"
The above is an excerpt from the second most important anthem of my beloved Costa Rica, an anthem that’s almost a second national anthem of Costa Rica. Normally, it is sung at independence festivals and citizens’ initiatives. You know, just your average Costa Rican patriotism.
Now, I’ve been in Europe, in Germany, to be more precise, for nine months.
I can safely say that I don’t envy this continent at all, since envy stands for the feeling of bitterness, sadness or anger aroused by the fact that you begrudge someone else their possessions or success and want them for yourself.
I think the excerpt from the song reflects our Costa Rican culture full of love, peace and pure life, without envy. Now I’m able to understand what we’ve sung in Costa Rica since we were kids.
To me, life in Germany has opened up a different perspective on culture, development and education. When I see how a country like Germany achieves such high quality standards in so many areas, I’m proud to live in this country during my volunteer service with weltwärts.
So, since I simply can’t bring myself to envy the Germanic countries (or Europe in general), all I’m left with is to learn about the good things that are to be found in this old culture filled with wonderful stories featuring surprising locations full of magic and to use these sustainably.
During my time in Berlin I had the opportunity to talk to many kinds of migrants with lots of different nationalities. Some complain about the German system, others about the sheer amount of documents you need to get for a procedure. Others, on the other hand, have difficulties with the language.
I’m from Costa Rica and believe me, the German formalities are sometimes quite stressful indeed. You simply have to be patient in order for it all to seem more familiar and, yes, even a bit funny.
I was once asked by a German person, “Eduardo, in your opinion, what is the most bizarre thing about Germany?” This question stuck in my mind and I’m still thinking about it.
In response to that, all I could do was to answer that when you’re in a country that’s not your own, everything can be horribly strange.
But when you know one culture with millions of differences, I believe it’s best to get to know more about the culture, to learn more about all the little details which make a nation so unique.
Details which form an environment and, in turn, result in a world full of life and culture.
That’s why the time I’ve spent in Germany so far has given me the chance to think about how important the history of each nation is.
How important it is not to forget this history but to take each step and write a new history in this world.
The different contributions by different cultures are incredibly important for our planet which is our home. Living together in tolerance and fraternity.
Now I see this world as the small mosaic tiles which form unique colours and shapes, without every copying anything, and each shape seems to have its own message.
Culture and history can only lead to the development of a better world for everyone.
I would like to thank every reader and all the people who continue to support me in these ten months.