So here I am. I am here and you are there. Thousands of miles and tons of earth separate our physical bodies. Yet, in the evenings we look up at the glittering sky and see the same stars. One of us may be ready to end the day while the other is ready to begin, but it is the same sky – one bright with cloaked stars and the other dark with clear stars. Orion stares down in the northern winter as always. I think of you, I think of home, when the stars sparkle.
I live near City Hall. You can see it from my window. Step out the door and there is a large building with a clock tower. It is a tan building and there is much greenery growing on it. Above the main entrance there are trees and shrubs. On the higher stories there are patios with vines growing up them. In the early fall they bear a fruit called “goya” or sometimes called bitter melon. They are quite tasty, if not a bit sour, but they make a good side dish, a great addition to a salad, or juiced and slightly sweetened in a nice, warm ade. The clocktower plays a song at noon and at five. Each are different melodies. The five o’clock song winds down at the end, slowing to a crawl; it’s to signal the farmers in the mountains to head home.
Days come and days go; as it is anywhere. Sometimes, I walk out the door and all is fine and normal; other days I walk out the door and an alien world smacks me in the face. Not much different than home, to tell the truth. It is home but it isn’t. I’ve said that about home as well. My real home, as it is – maybe it’s better to call it my roots. But that’s the interesting thing about roots, they spread. There is certainly a large, central collection, but the roots spread deep and wide.
I’ve always felt alien wherever I’ve been. Finding a place to belong has never exactly been at the top of my priority list but I believe I have always been searching subconsciously for that thing. I’ve learned that there is not one whole thing or place that contains all that I need. I can get this from here and that from there, a little of this, a little of that, throw in a little cardamon, maybe some thyme, and a whole bunch of compassion and curiosity. Having always felt alien, I was curious about how my culture shock would be. It’s hard to see sometimes but it has been good, I think. The most difficult thing is blending in. I prefer to be able to walk down the street without being noticed. It’s nice and can be a bit of a security blanket. No such luck where I am. I stand out boldly based solely on my appearance. It takes getting used to.
The language is difficult but I am learning. Slowly, yes, but learning nonetheless. It can be difficult to learn a language as an adult but I think that is because we tend to project that which we already know on the new language. Add to that impatience and mass confusion ensues. Being surrounded by the language is helpful. I have discovered a positive to being an adult learner though. Adults appear to have a greater ability for understanding. Whereas a child learns quickly but only reacts based on limited learning and context, an adult can apply the content to further situations. It still takes time to get there but it is important. I could be wrong. But, thinking this way helps me learn. It is positive, and positive thought is a wonderful force. I know I can do it, therefore I will.
I haven’t kept in as good touch as I should have. I thought about “Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock” the other day, particularly about the character Uncle Traveling Matt (Maybe that’s why I’ve always wanted white hair). I remember the joke we used to tell about me traveling so much. I recently revisited some of those episodes and I was pleasantly reminded of how he spoke and discovered the world. It was a breath of fresh air on an otherwise stale day. And, of course, it prompted me to think about who I am and what it is that I am trying to do. Not questions to take lightly. Neither are they questions to take seriously. Each answer (and there are numerous) adds but a sliver to the tree that appears to be my life. (I find it necessary to continue the metaphor). But each sliver helps me understand the world and my place within it. This is one of those slivers.
Enough about me. What of you?