Europe is going through a hard time, and it is only with faith, and a little bit of idealism too, that we can overcome this crisis. In a letter to her native continent our author recalls the best moments of a youth spent with eachother and holds out hope for the future. A love letter to Europe.
We’ve known each other my entire life. When I was young you showed me the beaches of Italy in the summer holidays, and the snow topped peaks of Austria in the winter. On my fourth birthday we celebrated together in Greece, where I learned to ride a bike in the small alleyways of Antiparos. You were beautiful, exciting, and always there for me. As I was growing up you too were getting bigger and stronger, I accompanied you throughout your most important milestones, and you through mine. As I grew older we travelled together on school exchanges to Scotland and the Czech Republic, where I also came to know completely new sides to you in my first ever stupor. Our friendship became more profound year on year, and I thought I knew you very well.
You were there while I bathed on the harsh Atlantic coastline of Brittany and dabbled in windsurfing, we sauntered together though the old town of Barcelona, we ate lángos together on Lake Balaton. No one could tell such exciting stories as you. You brought times long past effortlessly back to life while we strolled through Venice, and in Berlin you confided in me your darkest secrets.
A few years ago I moved to Malaga in Spain for a year where I landed in a very international setting. My flatmates came from the Netherlands, Turkey, France, Italy, and Germany. We discussed a lot in our flat, from the reasons for Berlusconi’s popularity to American arms policies to the advantages and disadvantages of the Bachelor and Masters system. All of these conversations have enriched me and showed me that we’re all from the same corner of the world, this small patch of Earth, which has so much to offer and is historically and culturally so closely intertwined. I wasn’t the only one who waxed lyrical about you, and I found it brilliant. I got an entirely new perspective on my homeland. I realised that we were all young people with really similar experiences, with the same opinions, dreams and wishes. And you were always right there, I never felt so close to you.
Suddenly there was something new between us, a closeness I had never felt before. All at once you were more than a good friend, I had fallen in love with you. We belonged together and I took responsibility to make sure you were doing well. But unfortunately I had to witness how you struggled more and more. Bouts of depression and identity crises shook your self-confidence and an inner turmoil rose up from within you. It was hard for me to see you like that. I had always thought I had a strong, steadfast partner in you, someone who will always be there. Yet suddenly I was afraid for you.
For several months we’ve been in a long-distance relationship. I live in Colombia now. Although I like it here I sometimes miss you a lot, since my feelings have only grown stronger since I’ve been here. You often tell me about the problems plaguing you lately, about your inner conflict. I stay up at nights during the critical moments in hopes of hearing news of improvement. I’m really worried about you, I’d like to strengthen you and support you. I believe in you and I want to help you overcome this crisis.
Yet a single voice can rectify little in the face of your inner contradictions. You need millions to rebuild your self-confidence. You have so many friends, accept the help offered to you! Show your sceptics what you’re capable of, how strong you are. I have faith that you’ll manage it, Europe, you will always be able to count on me.