We are all the same but in a different way

It happens often. I meet somebody who asks me where I am from and when I say I am from the Netherlands - with hesitation, I don’t feel too connected to that country, usually I say I am born there and my roots are there but I lived in and learned from other countries the biggest part of my life - and minutes later I hear the same person tell somebody else I am German. The Netherlands and Germany are completely different countries with two completely different languages. Yes, there are cultural similarities but also many differences. And yes, they are both Germanic languages but I still had a hard time learning German and most Dutch, especially the younger generation, speak English far easier than German. It might be confusing that “Dutch” in English sounds like the German “Deutsch” which means “German”. But still.
And I don’t mind when people make a mistake or don’t remember correctly but I do mind when, if I correct them they just laugh and say “Ah, but it is the same, Dutch or German, the Netherlands or Germany, isn’t it?”

It happened again yesterday. In Catalunya, where I am very aware and supportive of the struggle of the Catalans to have their culture and language respected and cared for, where most people want to be independent from Spain. Where most people speak two different languages but have a preference for what is really their language, Catalan. “Where are you from?” he asked and I said “From the Netherlands”. And when a friend of his arrived he introduced me as Monique from Germany. Somebody else corrected him and he laughed and said: “But it is the same thing, isn’t it?”

I laughed and replied, in my best Spanish: Yes, it is the same thing. Just like Spanish and Catalan is the same thing.”

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