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.