Friday, November 16, 2007

Culture - The Ties That Bind

In Vietnam, perhaps the most culturally different place I’ve ever been to and yet it makes me think of home more. Suddenly the music of Duke Special and Foy Vance is what I listen to while lounging in my beach hut in shorts on a hot afternoon. And with the music is memory’s of cold clear autumn days walking down by the beach or through the forest kicking through those yellow leaves. Of a clean crispness in the air , of woolly jumpers and turf fires burning and warm drinks. Coming in out of the cold with flushed cheeks but feeling alive.

When it comes down to it I’m a northern hemisphere man. I like the mildness of our climate and the lifestyle that goes with it. And it is strange to think these thoughts while listening to the waves crash on a golden beach and eating some dragon fruit and loving it. And its not home sickness, because I don’t want to go home. I am loving Vietnam but perhaps, that’s part of the paradox of travel. As well as learning about other cultures, you also learn the importance of your own culture. You realise how much a part of it, you are and how it has shaped you. You also learn a lot about your self and who you really are, and also what you want in life and what you don’t know. I will expand on this more in later posts but sitting in my beach hut in a hammock gives me a lot of contemplation time.

I’ve also been reading through the Psalms this week. The Blues of the Bible. Davids’ writings ranging from unrestrained praise to shouting at God. Honestly not sure what to make of it right now – its hard and honest and raw and dull and wonderful and annoying and profound. But walking on the beach a lot it is perhaps a phrase of my least favourite apostle Paul which constantly springs to mind. In a rare poetic turn when talking to the men of Athens he describes God as one in whom we live and move and have our being. And watching the sun rise and the rain fall over a deserted beach, watching the stars from my beach hut and then falling asleep to the rhythm of the ocean ….. I think I’ve begun to understand that phrase like never before, perhaps even for the first time.

1 comment:

me said...

oh northern hemisphere man,
how you make me smile.