August 26, 2010

All Things Being Equal

In the current issue of their magazine Newsweek published a list of The Best Countries in the World. You can find the article - and the metrics used - here

Finland, the land I most grew up in, ranks top - yup, #1. The country I pledged allegiance to - Canada - ranks 7th. The Netherlands, the land a good portion of my family hails from - and of which I was a citizen until I became Canadian, dual citizenship not being allowed then - ranks 8th. And the other side of the family calls France their homeland, and it was ranked 16th. Wow, all are enviable places to live, say the numbers.

And yet my home for the past 20 years has been the Philippines. It ranked a pretty low 63 out of 100.  And so it would be a fair question to ask me why, since I have limitless options, I choose to live here over any other place in the world.  

You can read more about my decision to stay here on my "So where exactly is home?" page... but the short answer is something the metrics and the statistics just don't show, and that is heart. The Philippines, despite all its faults, it messiness, its complexities, its complexes even, is a place where the "salt of the earth" people have heart.

So all things being equal, I prefer to live with warm folks who are happy and resilient despite their - sometimes natural, sometimes man-made - disadvantages. 

Or let me put it even simpler, since all things rarely are equal, as the article amply points out, I'm just a sucker for a smile:

Nine smiles in Manila, 2006

The prompt today was EQUAL for Theme Thursday. The link will take you to more creative takes on the theme.

21 comments:

jennyfreckles said...

Home is where the heart is, it's true. Otherwise I might choose the soft south of England over the gritty north - but I've grown to love it anyway.

Anita Johnson said...

I'm not sure why I love this post so much, but I do. I envy your options, but I love your answer. Someone asked the other day about what I like to take pictures of...the answer could be complex, or simply, what makes me smile...there is so much joy in that isn't there?
PS I did take my camera to bed with me in my recent post. The little guy crawls all over and I didn't want him in my camera bag, so I brought it in our bedroom and got a sweet shot by doing it! :-)

tapirgal said...

It's always great to be happy with where you live. I remember living in Santa Barbara eons ago and when I was getting used to the place (less crowded then, I imagine, though have not really been back), someone said to me, "Even the bus drivers are nice, because they enjoy living here." It does make a difference! I once read that the Finns had the highest suicide rate. Not so happy. Has that changed? Some people could not live in the Pacific Northwest because of the all rain and clouds, but others love it here.

B SQUARED said...

Home is always where the heart is;and your's is in The Philippines. Welcome home!

T. Becque said...

Sweet. Your experiences sound more than wonderful. And you've found a home through all your incredible journeys.

Francisca said...

@tapirgal - That's another interesting metric that was not used in the Newsweek report. Finland shed its top rank in suicide rates (1965-1990) after mental health care was significantly improved. Suicides have dropped by 40%. Now it ranks 14, about the same as Switzerland and France. The Philippines ranks 89 of 106. :-)

cieldequimper said...

Home is where each individual feels good, isn't it? (Which means that I'm not living at home).

Julie said...

And you were worried that you could not tease out a starting thread for this prompt!

I like your summary and appreciate your personal conclusion. Most people don't choose where they live. They just stay close to where they were born. And get used to living like that.

Kaori said...

This is a wonderful post Francisca! And what you say is so true. I moved around a lot, too. And it was always hard for me to figure out where "home" really is. Until I realized that where ever I am is always home :D

Kris said...

No just a lot of places, a lot of different.

Brian Miller said...

i like it because it is honest...and it goes to show it is less about the environment and more about the people...very nice play on the theme...

Evelyn said...

An interesting article - glad I am in Australia - #4.

The photo of the smiles sure is nice :).

For me, home is where my husband and I are...

Tracy said...

Wonderful photo! As they say, "Home is where the heart is"! Thanks for stopping by our blog. Great minds think alike. :-)

JM said...

Francisca, this a really interesting post and you've chosen a wonderful image to go with. Very clever entrance on the theme.

Prayer Girl said...

All things being equal I too would "prefer to live with warm folks who are happy and resilient".

PG

EG Wow said...

What a lovely post, Francisca! I'm glad you can choose where you feel most comfortable! YAY!

Hilda said...

I have tears in my eyes and I want to give you a hug. Thank you, Francisca.

My two older brothers and younger sister left the country a long time ago, and I'm the only one left here. When people ask me why, I always answer that I haven't given up on the Philippines yet (though the previous government almost pushed me to the edge). I'm a sucker for smiles too.

Bobbie said...

What a wonderful read! :) Love the pictures as well, and thanks for the link to the article. Great take on the theme.

Leeuna said...

Wonderful photos and I loved your take on the "equal" theme. Home is any place where you love and feel loved in return. Home is more a feeling than a place.

Baino said...

I wonder what criteria they used? Home is indeed where the heart is, I haven't found it yet but in the meantime, it's Australia, at least the weather's fine. Love your Phillipine smiles too.

VP said...

A quite good explanation, it does make perfectly sense.