I'm a collector. I collect things that I love.
I like second-hand ornaments, trinkets. I like owls. I like mementos from other countries, I like culture. I like art. My prized possession at the moment is my set of Russian leaders, the proud Matryoshka dolls in a line on my books shelf. I have badges, Lenin, Guevara, Marx, Engels. They gather dust. I touch them with my finger tips.
I like books. I read books like you've never seen. I break their spines and consume them. I carry them with me, like my guardians.
I keep a small pot of caviar that we were given on Red Arrow train from Moscow to St. Petersburg six years ago. I keep a hand-painted Russian Faberge egg. I keep old tickets to shows, train tickets from Germany, church admission tickets from Venice, a decorative bowl from Spain, a beautiful scarf from Belgium.
I collect culture, our house is full of it and our books contain it.
There are many many reasons why I am sad abut the UK leaving the EU. One of them is culture. The reality may be that we are not removing ourselves from European culture; but the perception is. There is the perception that we are now "free" of our European shackles. We are free and we didn't need them anyway.
I love Europe. I love cultures of the world. I immerse myself in it. I love colours, fabric, nik-naks, dusty old used items from years past. I love people and places.
A European Union to me meant that we shared a common culture. Or at least there was a perception of a common culture. It was not "us" and "them" like it was "in the good old days."
I run my hand along my collection of representations of a culture that I thought we all shared.
My heart is still open to Europe. My heart is broken for Europe. All we have is division and confusion.