After yoga class we're gathered under the gazebo eating a simple European buffet breakfast and drinking weak coffee. It's not yet too hot and a light breeze blows through. I'm the only non-German at the table though everyone speaks English. My companions although very contentious of my inability to speak German have fallen into their native tongue. Sitting at the table surrounded by at least 15 people all mostly speaking German I'm not uncomfortable in the least. Inwardly I curse our American school system for not doing a better job of teaching second languages while I settle into paying attention to the parts I understand, the facial expressions, the laughter, the eye contact, the feeling of being apart but not at all separate. I use this as an opportunity to look at the subtle things I might normally miss in conversation. I see squints of eyes when one person is trying to make another person feel comfortable, I see deep eye contact, hand gestures and laughter. Words are not the only language being spoken here, they never are.
My thoughts drift to something I remember my dad telling me about my paternal great grandmother. My fathers grandmother on his father's side. If I'm remembering correctly my dad said she couldn't speak English, she spoke only Flemish, but she understood English and could read it. I wonder about this women I'm related to but never knew. She lived in a country surrounded by people and grandchildren that she couldn't use words to communicate with. I feel lucky that these friendly people surrounding me can speak my language even if I can't speak theirs. All I have to do is ask them to repeat themselves in English and they'll unnecessarily apologize and start speaking in my language even though I'm the only one who can't speak German.
At the moment I don't want the English, I want the chance to observe to watch without the expectation of speaking. It's a luxury in it's self, a guilty pleasure. When I signed up for this yoga retreat I didn't realize that I would be one of only a few English speaking participants but looking back I realize there was a reason they said the yoga would be in English. I've flown all the the way to Greece to make friends with German and Swedish Yogi's. Sometimes we get the experiences we need and I needed to be emerged in a group of Germans whether I knew it or not.
Year of the Travel: October
I'm still unpacking experiences from India like a suitcase left open, full and disheveled on my bedroom floor. The trip over but memories like clothing half in, half out of the bag. I'm not sure what pieces are clean and which are dirty
5 lessons from Greece. What could you do today to put these lessons into practice for yourself?
When I signed up for this yoga retreat I didn't realize that I would be one of only a few English speaking participants
After a long voyage home I finally arrived in Greensboro last night around 6pm. I'm significantly sleep deprived which causes huge emotional overwhelm for me. I'm not sure what to do with myself or the stillness that of Greensboro after the commotion of India and intense travel. Instead of writing I'm going to offer you a picture post of images from Udaipur.
My eyes fluttered open as my brain registers the Muslim call to prayer; I'm wide-awake in an instant. It's five am, still dark but it will be light soon.
Photos from Mumbai yesterday
"when we foreigners get sick here it's most likely because we don't have the tools to emotionally digest what we see. As a result our bodies create a physical reaction to what our minds can't process. If our minds can't purge the pain at least our bodies will."
"My lungs feel heavy, I imagine a smoker's lungs might feel like this, but I haven't been smoking. My nose is working overtime filtering the smog filled Mumbai air."
Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, or the dehydration for that matter, but on the short rickshaw ride in I had the comforting sense that I was powerless, it felt like someone was whispering in my ear "if you want to enjoy this trip treat it like a rickshaw ride, don't hold on too tightly. Let it all unfold naturally or you'll miss the magic".