Before forgetting the freshness, I’d like to capture my recent adventure into words.
Thanks to GlobalGiving, I had a chance to go to South Africa and Lesotho for 3 weeks. 3 weeks are enough to forget what I had been, yet not enough to loosen myself to transform myself with the surrounding environment. What happens is, (re)adjustment.
Adjustment 1: I was wondering why I don’t get the map in my head, which I’m usually pretty good at, that is, to capture a map in my mind once I read, hence tentative directions in town. I figured out why when I noticed that the sun wasn’t in the south. I associate the sun with the south, and for me it is critical to know where the north is, in order to sync directions with a map in my mind. I grew up with “the sun in the south” – blessing of nature; kills germs of our laundry; nice futon under the sun; makes healthy body; expensive south-directed rooms, shade are made towards north… it all comes from the south! “The sun in the south” is such an important proposition/assumption of my life. I did not realize that, until I spent sometime where the sun in the south is not true.
Adjustment 2: Even though I feel like I am a traveler more than my family members in terms of overseas experiences, I never get used to. It is different every time. My standing point in my life, reasons of the trip, people I meet during the trip (who usually have big impact on me) are all different. I discover what I like and I don’t, what I am connected to, whom I miss, what I think about during shower to be adjustment experience. Adjustment to my new self.
(Re)adjustment 1: Car on the left side, which is true in my country of origin. After spending some years in “we drive ‘right side’ of the road ;-)” countries, that was fresh but for a little while, I was confused. Readjustment. Moreover, when I came back in DC, another readjustment happened. Busy mind.
(Re)adjustment 2: Being not in the USA is very different. USA is so big that I feel like “this is the whole world”, and feel like I know so many things because of the characteristic of information passed along and of people very open to expand their network, which I like about. The feeling is probably similar in Japan as well for some other reasons. Yet, when I am outside of Japan or USA, I see/hear/experience LOTS of idiosyncrasies of the people, community, society, and country, “this is the way it is done” sort of practices. It is not exactly a shock, I’d call it an abrupt adjustment. Almost immediately after cross the country border, I become a part of it, learning and adjusting hard. What is interesting for me and different from being in the USA is that I may make difference bigger than I may in the USA. I observe the USA’s liberty as an acceptance principal, which allows people to accept or at least listen to very foreign ideas, funny looks, very wide range of types and kinds, which I appreciate. That does not happen in most other countries I’ve visited. So whenever the people want to know what I have to say, they ask me (and that is almost like a “permission” for me to express my idea). They are impressed visibly when they are. When they don’t understand, they ask questions further until they understand, which makes me explore why I say what I say. I had this thought when I lived in Italy, and this trip reminded me of what it is like to be outside of USA and Japan. Readjustment.
Sum, there are things that are significant to my life, and that seems to come in a good timing, which I really never tried to plan. (Well, I wanted to at some point in my life, but I succumbed to a bigger flow of the world – in short, gave up.) My experimental life is proving to be an interesting one!