I think, one of the things that become most obvious when you leave the country where you are known and understood, is that those invisible unspoken things protecting you ... the habits, the customs, the family and known behaviours will disappear. Out here, it's just you.
One of my favourite poets, Anne Michaels, writes in her poem Blue Vigour:
I think, if you have lived through a war,
or have made your home in a country
not your own, or if you've learned
to love one man,
then your life is a story.
Yes. A story because all that you have known and understood is somehow broken. Smashed even. Each country is different. The way I lived in Turkey is different to the way I live in Belgium.
Those 3 months in Berlin ... so different to all my 2 and 3 week stays in Genova, Italy.
And I feel like a blind woman sometimes, reading braille. The braille of being human ...
So this behaviour, I wonder, where did it come from?
What formed these people, their culture?
Why is this acceptable here and not there?
I'm always curious. And not learning the language of each place I arrive in helps somehow. I do try learning but I am beyond terrible. I think I have some kind of learning disability however these weren't invented until after I was educated and so ... I am simply judged lazy.
But not learning the language ... sometimes I'm not sure it's some kind of gift. It means I have had to become a close observer of body language. I was a photographer alreadyand so perhaps I always was a close observer of body language. Even in that country called Home.
There's a massive birthday approaching this year and I have this feeling of being filled in ways that I didn't expect. Filled with so many stories, of so many people and places, that perhaps it's time for me to re-evaluate who I am and where I am heading.
Anyway, enough ...let's leave this post with the ultimate in wise men, quoted there on the photograph below.