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  • Writer's pictureChelsea Joy Arganbright

One man's ceiling is another man's floor.

One man's ceiling is another man's floor. 

An Italian waiter working at a hotel in Milano remarks how he loves Germans. He divulges how it’s his dream to live in Germany as the quality of life is far superior to Italy. I reply with surprise as most people say the quality of life in Italy surpasses many other places. He jokes, “The quality of life in Africa would be better than in Italy!”

I’ve lived all over the place in 33 years and realising a great many things about the world. One is how culture underpins everything, even though people would like to think we’re all the same. Culture drives values, perspectives, perception, connection, mindset, positivity vs. negativity, ambition, priorities…everything. 

Another thing I’ve learnt is that for one person, a place is utopia. Meanwhile, it could be a living hell for another. 

Perhaps a place caters to an individual’s lifestyle and they don’t notice aspects like depth of history or politeness of the locals - critical for another person. I’ve lived in places where those I spoke with maintained the unified opinion that it is the absolute best in the world. I didn’t feel the same. 

I live as if I’m a cultural anthropologist - picking up on how often people say please or thanks, the way they move around one other in public spaces, how they gesticulate. I clock strangers’ reactions when making brief eye contact and their response when I engage in a queue. While for another individual, these elements might go completely unnoticed. Another person might simply pick up on the fact the coffee was good and their taxi arrived on time. 

So my point is, not everything is for everyone and it certainly doesn’t negate the person’s experience. I’ve had people tell me it’s abnormal how I haven’t enjoyed a place as others do. Perhaps this points to the relativity of absolutely everything. What works for one doesn’t work for another.

I adored England because of the rolling countrysides, humour of the people and cultural nuances despite the bleak weather everyone loves to hate. Perhaps the Italian will move to Frankfurt and find his happiness. It’s about choosing your path to find your personal utopia, wherever that may be.

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