This is the monologue for the latest episode of Why? Radio. The topic was "Can there be a world without borders?" You can hear the whole episode online here.
When I moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1994, the only other country I had ever visited was Canada. I was twenty-four and I knew two German words, please and whipped cream; I learned them from John Irving novels. I took a bus from the airport and then a taxi. At the end of the trip, I gave the driver money I didn’t understand and said, “I want to give you a tip, but I don’t know how much.” Like most Austrians, he was honest, taking only a few small coins and saying thank you. If I had been in Rome, the driver would probably have taken every Euro I owned. Austrian and Italian cabbies have different moral codes.