Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I have always been curious about the world we live in and how it is divided up into little, or in fact, rather big pockets, of countries and continents. My thoughts have often tried to travel to faraway places to imagine what it would be like to experiencing living in a different place than here.
But as much as I daydream, I will never fully understand what it's like to live life in another place unless I do it.
As a child, I always thought that I would love to live in another country.
Last week, I had the opportunity to experience a taste of another country. As we walked the streets of Rome, I felt like a fish out of water. I was surrounded by Italians who knew Italy as their way of life. I was in awe of the incredible architecture that you see at every turn and wondered at what those around me thought when they looked upon their heritage.
I invariably find when I am in a country other than my home, I remember the things that are around me on a daily basis in vivid detail, in a way that I do not when I am in the midst of them. I so often forget that the things that make up the world I see are unique to here.
I notice the difference in the colours of the trees and the sound of the birdsong, the unfamiliar smells of shops and cleaning products, the colour of the roads and the people, the flavour of the food. The language and ability to communicate.
I love noticing these differences, and, while appreciating them, I find myself coming to the realisation of how much I love England as my home. I loved thinking how Italians probably feel this about their home, and that for the majority of people all over the world, their home is their reference point for life and all it encompasses.
While there is a merging of cultures that happens when people migrate and take with them something of their Home Land, there will always be distinct differences across the world. Diversity is a beautiful thing.
Yet the astounding fact is that it is possible to embrace another country's way of life; their language, their way of cooking & making coffee just so, their daily routines, and this is just what Mary, my future sister in law, has done.
It's a humbling thing to witness someone who has moved to a foreign country, landing there just like a fish out of water falling on unfamiliar dry land, learning to swim in their new culture.
I started this post thinking I would write about the places we saw and the things we did when in Rome, but it has ended up being a bit of a tribute to Mary, and also to my brother John - I write this with him in mind too. Just as Mary has adopted the Italian way of life, John has adopted the Spanish way of life in an awe-inspiring way.
Thankyou, Mary, for being such a brilliant tour guide and showing us some of the things you love about Rome.