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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?


Blog every day in May, day 21: Talk about something that is in the news today.

In the news today are stories of children that were killed by the Oklahoma tornado, of big companies using every possible legal loophole to avoid paying taxes, of studies linking co-sleeping to increased risks of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), of one family’s struggle for justice after their daughter was strangled by her boyfriend, of the Syria “crisis” (I somehow feel that the term “crisis” is an entirely inadequate way of describing the ruthless slaughter of thousands of people – men, women and children), of dictators having their convictions for genocide overturned, of a disabled young woman dying because of hospital negligence, of women being jailed in Afghanistan for “moral crimes” (for being raped and abused), and on and on. And it makes me want to scream.

I know it’s vitally important that these things get talked about. That hospitals and corporations and the police and politicians are held to account. That no-one should be allowed to take someone else’s life without being questioned. We do have to talk about it. And that means we have to read about it. But there was not one single good news story on the front page this morning. Not one. The most positive piece was probably a story about Tumblr being bought by Yahoo, making at least one man very very rich and very very happy. But it’s not exactly a story to uplift the masses, is it? Bad news sells better, I guess. Fear garners more votes.

But I’m sure good things happened today. Someone, somewhere, welcomed a baby into the world today, despite being told they would never have children. Someone else met their soulmate. Someone, somewhere, was offered their dream job. After months of treatment and months of waiting, someone else was told that they were finally free of cancer. Someone, somewhere, got a call today from the son they hadn’t spoken to in 10 years. Someone, somewhere, welcomed their husband back, safe and sound, from Afghanistan. Someone, somewhere, got a long awaited promotion. Someone else received a letter telling them they had been accepted into their first choice university. Perhaps, against all the odds, a little girl was given permission to go to school today. Someone, somewhere, got home in time to kiss their children goodnight. Someone else passed their driving test – third time lucky. A little boy was told that he was beautiful today, and it made his day. Someone, somewhere, got a call to tell them they were now a great-grandfather. Someone’s neighbor cooked them a meal tonight because they knew they were struggling and they wanted to help. Someone got their hearing back today. Someone, somewhere, got down on one knee and asked the love of their life to be with them forever (and someone else said “yes”).

It’s happening all around us, all the time. But it doesn’t make the headlines. It doesn’t sell papers. Because someone, somewhere, doesn’t think anyone wants to read the good news. I do though. Don’t you?

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