Canada - Hotbed for the globalisation of love
Often I am asked about the best cultural combination for a GloLo relationship, a question to which there is no definitive answer. It really depends on the couple. The degree of affiliation you have to your culture, religion or ethnicity will make you more or less flexible and adaptable in a multicultural relationship. It’s true that some cultures align themselves nicely together, such as when common values like the importance of family, are shared, but ultimately it depends on the two people in the relationship and how they deal with their different cultural reference points.
By contrast, I have never been asked the question about the best country for a multicultural couple to live in, which is a pity, because now I actually have the answer. In Chapter 10 of The Globalisation of Love, I write that the location where a multicultural couple lives will often have a huge impact on how happy the couple are together. Without any game show style suspense, then, the best place for a multicultural couple to live in is Canada.
I know what you’re thinking. „She’s Canadian - how biased is that!“ In my defence, yes I am Canadian however I have lived abroad for 20 years and recognise on my sojourns to the motherland that I am no longer familiar with the Zeitgeist of Canada. I’ve kind of lost touch … eh? I therefore write this not as a Canadian per se, but as someone who just visited Canada and had the following impressions. Here’s the story:
I was in Canada promoting The Globalisation of Love, and thereby making a family visit into a tax right off. A typical reading begins with my asking the audience who is multicultural, who has a multicultural relationship and essentially who is GloLo. The audience before me was not very GloLo at all (my worst nightmare to be honest). One person says she was born outside of Canada and has a Canadian boyfriend. Does she count, she asks me. Despite this teetering start, I continue with the reading pretty much as usual. Some of the anecdotes which are a huge success with European audiences fall flat. Some stories which are not meant as jokes with European audiences are met with raucous laughter by Canadians. At the end of the reading, usually several people will share heart-warming, funny, sad or inspiring GloLo stories. In this case, the Canadians smile politely … in silence. Usually there will be a lot of clever questions. In this case, one woman asked me about ‘multicultural hair’. It is a new thematic I have not yet researched I tell her, hoping she cannot read the thought bubble over my head. Usually I know if the reading went well. In this case, I don’t.
Only after the event, when I was packing up the (very few) unsold books to carry home, did people come to tell me privately about the neighbours they have, the colleagues they work with, the sister-in-law from far and yonder who fit the GloLo profile, but they had never really given it much thought. They had never noticed that their neighbours, colleagues or sister-in-law are multicultural. They just recognised them as neighbours, as colleagues and as a sister-in-law. The message was clear. Canada is such an intensely multicultural society that they don’t even notice who is multicultural and who isn’t, because somehow everyone is, or has a colleague or neighbour or sister-in-law who is, if you know what I mean. I may have written the book called The Globalisation of Love, but Canada is making history with multicultural neighbours and colleagues and sisters-in-law. It is the birthplace of - and hotbed for - the globalisation of love.