Thursday, 31 July 2014

The insignificantly small glories

It is late Thursday evening and I have now returned back to the UK after an incredible month in Barcelona. There has been too much to write and far too much to accurately illustrate in my small corner of the world wide web. But I do know for certain that I shall return next time the opportunity is there. Just as this time, I will not question it - I will just go. Life is too short not to. The month was over before I had chance to feel ready to leave and I have never taken a work trip that has been so fulfilling and so full of friendship and freedom. I am certain that part of my soul belongs in Spain. Despite my fair skin and the constant requirement for factor 50+, my very basic knowledge of the Spanish language (probably flavoured with  Yorkshire twang), and the inability of my hair to adjust to the warmer climate (my poor hairdresser will have a lot of dead ends to chop), I have never felt so welcomed in a country other than my own. In fact, I am certain that even when in our own country in our own home, we do not always feel we are 'home'.

Why is it that even the strangers of Spain display much more kindness and gratitude than I ever see in some familiar faces at home? There are cultural differences of course, and the differences in climate and language. But this is about the nature of human beings. What it means to meet face to face - human to human. I have always thought that there is a collective language and culture bigger than the one we are born into; more universal and widely spoken. Perhaps there still is - we can travel and still understand the 'strangers' we meet, but somehow there is something about certain places and people that invite us in, and there is something about others that is so very boundaried and unknown. I suppose I have learnt a lesson that our culture really and truly shapes who we are - our identity. How we think of ourselves and how we are in relation to others. It is a much more powerful force than I often like to think. I always prefer to think that our individuality is a stronger force than any external factors We are unique beings; we are who we are and we exist in isolation. But how naive to assume that we are not shaped by the very culture we know and the relationships we thrive in. We exist in relation to the world we know. We create boundaries in response to the culture that we are part of, but certain boundaries do not allow for the human to human language - it is a shame that the boundaries of a culture can act as such a strong barrier to something much more powerful than the self we create within the boundaries we draw.

Anyway, my ramblings could extend for days and days. I am meaning to write about my wish to be back in Spain on our balcony with Zan, eating olives and watching the moon and the stars, but I am back in the UK. When in fact, I shall not wish my time away. I will not wish for it to be anything other than now. I am spending some time in Kent before I go back to research and client work. I am taking a little time in a place I know well. It is still beautiful weather and I still believe I can soak in some more vitamin D and travel to some more beaches, swim in the sea, walk some more, breathe some different air, spend time with people that matter, and yes do a little work in the evenings! Time passes too quickly, and we often take life far too seriously that we forget to marvel in the small glories. As my Nan reminded me this afternoon, it is never the 'big' things that matter; it is never the things we thought would make a difference. Always the small things that have the most impact. It always requires my stepping back and examining the full picture in order to realise once more that I must magnify the insignificantly small glories...

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