Tuesday, June 27, 2006

travel is the thing

quick news recap: luckily the No side of the Italian Referendum to change the constitution won, so that things will remain as they are right now instead of dismantling and reorganizing the political system. and, yes, Italy won their soccer game yesterday. Gladly I wasn't in the mood for most of the game, because the most intense part of it all was definitely the last 10 seconds where with the game tied at 0-0, Italy was given a penalty kick and well of course Totti scored. Niki lept up for joy, the courtyard of our building erupted with cheers and shouts of GOAL as did the streets below for a good half hour. Evviva l'Italia.

While things have been a bit tough here in terms of adjusting to a new culture and trying to be all I can be (no I am not in the army) in the workplace within a new culture, I have learned new things about myself through the process of traveling. Carley and I chatted this over when we were eating gelato near La Scala. Picking up and plopping yourself down half way across the world from home puts you in a situation where you shed your everyday relationships, your everyday expectations, your everyday routine. Here, wherever here may be, in this case, Italy, you need to learn everyday, learn to communicate again, learn to orient yourself and to navigate. The warm padded and present comfort of instinctual unthinking language abruptly disappears as you find yourself not knowing how to say floor, tan or second. Thus you try and rely on your observations of body language, of interactions, of friendships all in an attempt to understand the culture you have entered, the underlying principles and any issues that also may exist. Often times you don't understand. There will always be the universal effervescent sound of a laugh or the welcome sight of a smile, but the entire way you view yourself and the way you will have to interact may change completely. You've entered another world.

All the while, however, you still have yourself. I know that I've been tracking my feelings and reactions in all these new situations. What type of person am I? What do I enjoy? How do I interact with people? When really all you have is your physical self in a foreign environment, an intimate observation of your thoughts and emotions takes place. I learn to become reacquainted with myself and observe as if at a distance. I note my want of proud confidant posture, my desire to present my best sophisticated yet simple (Marina knows all about this one) self forward, the want for connection, for sincerity, for creativity and expression. Beyond finding a life mission, or a life partner, travel is foremost a personal journey (no, I am not going to sound like that cheesy book The Way of the Traveler, bear with me) in which you learn more about that person who has always been with you. It's in this new environment, that a new presence of identity bubbles to the surface. The process fascinates me and can be emotionally taxing, a weary journey of reacquaintance, seeing how you get along with yourself.

I've been shifted in jobs at work, doing editorial research it seems, summarizing incoming projects and translating them into Italian. So this flow of blog posts may change in schedule and may change in frequency given this change of circumstances... we shall see.

No comments: