yeah, the Van Morrison song, not the similarly titled one by the Shirelles although that’s great for dancing around the house. Today, I am not dancing. I have been in my house for a day and a half, mostly in bed. I wonder if my Mama knew that I’d run off one day with my old man to some foreign country?
When I was about 4 years old my mom had a book club subscription and in addition to Dr. Seuss and P. D. Eastman we received oversized books on various countries with a language glossary in the back. I remember sitting on the floor with those giant books in my lap practicing how to say hello and No! in Russian, French and Italian. My mom had taught me how to read at 3 1/2 so I would give her some peace. Books have always been my friends. Thanks Mom, wherever you are.
There be days like this…when I don’t want to hear any other language but my own. I don’t want to study another irregular verb! I truly understand how language divides people now. I have always thought languages are so cool, and still do. And yet, I also see how languages divide. The Tower of Babel rears it’s ugly head everyday in our world as we struggle (or not) to understand those who don’t speak our language. They don’t speak US! That’s what makes the language of truth so beautiful. We have commonality that transcends any language or cultural barrier.
I spoke to a sister in our hall who majored in English here before coming into the truth. I confided how overwhelmed I feel at times…not emotionally equipped at times to deal with all the hugging and kissing at every meeting & every greeting…After the 15th person sometimes I am done, but you can’t be because it’s rude here and I truly don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. She told me I have no idea how many times she’s heard that from foreign sisters, both North American and Australian, that emotionally it can be quite daunting. That made me feel better, I am not such an odd duck!
There are times when you start the same conversation over 5 times because it is the culture here to interrupt and kiss and hug and greet with “Como Estas” or some variation. It is not interrupting here, it is greeting. Most days I flow with it. Other days, few thank goodness but it happens, I can’t handle it. Those are the days when I miss my daughter and my son and our family and friends back in the States. Those are the days when I just want to walk into Walmart (did I say I hated that place…I take it back!!!) get a box of Hostess Snowballs and eat the whole thing in my car while watching all the crazy looking people walk by! Those are the days when I walk down the street and I am not reveling in the fact that Cuenca is awash in Spanish, Quechua, Italian, German, French and Chinese speaking people. I don’t care on those days.
So on days like this I go into my Hidey Hole, known as my bedroom. I sleep, eat my favorite cold cereal with rice milk and listen to Van Morrison. I pray for the day when we all will be understood. When we will respect and love our universal culture as well as the differences we will all still have. We will be able to chat and laugh about US in one beautiful language, whatever that will be….on the “Bright Side Of The Road”…yeah more Van.