I'm English, born in England and live in England.
What is life like here? It can be rather mediocre. Growing up and living in London is fantastic - particularly for the young and carefree. Jobs are great too. It's great if you're into the immaterial.
Actually I spent half of my university years in France - living in Paris as well as the south of France. Spent a lot of time travelling abroad to the States and Canada (where most of you guys livfe). In terms of preference, I love the university lifestyle in France; the food; the people; the language and literature. When I return to England, I really think Wordsworth sucks, English food sucks; English taxes suck and English Fixed Penalty Notices and Congestion Charges suck. To say nothing of the inane drabble that passes for several hundred pages of the 19th century literature and British music. Whereas I love French literature and culture, I find their bureaucracy depressing. Trying to get a job in France for any young person is riddled with with a hierarchial pandering to authority. It becomes rather tiresome, and fantasies of a meritocracy become stillborn. For that reason I live in England, where as least because I'm a native, I'm qualified to do something, not because I'm necessarily good at anything, but just because I'm English ;P
Clearly that means if I move to Scotland, I will become useless.
Last year I travelled on the rough to China with a visa, a camera and not much else. I spent most of it alone, although I was working as a freelance for several corporations, I only ever touched base with them in Hong Kong for a few weeks. It was a fantastic opportunity. I speak English, French and German and Mandarin fluently - or so I thought! Mostly I spent time travelling off the beaten track in China, visiting remote villages, writing articles for magazines and discovering the generosity of the chinese people on the way. I was really stunned at how generous and kind they were to me in villages and rural provinces. Life for 24 hours on the train from Hunan to Beijing is a real experience! In one journey in Hunan, I decided to discover the mountains of Zhang Jia Jie without knowing much about the geography. On the packed train, some of the local lads started trying to talk to me. I joined in a game of poker with them and got talking. By the time we finished the 8 hour journey, they'd invited me to go on a camping tour with them in the mountains - we weathered torrential thunderstorms; losing our way, thickets of fogs for days and had a fantastic bonding experience (not Brokeback Mountain thank you very much). I felt really honoured that they were even bothered with a foreigner with me - they made a real effort and were so hospitable (and yes - they told me my Mandarin really sucks!) It still brings tears to my eyes thinking of their kindness. The lifestyle was more simple; nothing like the modernityof Beijing or Shanghai. The remote villages have a delightful humanity which I'm yearning to return to before the Beijing 2008 Olympics destroy the rest of rural China through modernisation.
A year later, back in England, I'm still working as a freelance, although the dreary middle-classness of the English gentilly is rather stultifying. Can't wait to leave England - I'm reflecting on how decadent living in materialistic countries is