A castle, community and culture

On a beautiful Saturday morning. The first glimpse of blue sky since our arrival. I sit at the long table in the bar of a beautiful old german castle in the idyllic countryside. This castle is the home of a multicultural community. Some of the members are friends. Some of the visitors are also friends. We are here to make more friends and deepen those that we already have.

My family is dispersed around the globe right now so I have lots of time to think.

Sam, Lizzy and Abi are all in Orkney with friends. A trip that Abi organized and found great travel deals for all. Lizzy is starting her correspondence school from New Zealand while there. Not the greatest timing. I think New Zealand school will be good for her. A lot more relaxed. They are all so clever (proud mama sigh).

Dad is on his way to join them. He left for Koln yesterday. Sharing the driving with an ill driver/traveler/biker/philosopher/friend who was on his way to help some members of a rock band with scheduling issues. From Koln Andrew will fly to Aberdeen and then take the ferry to Orkney. He is on his way to sort through some things we had left behind in a space that will be sold.

That just leaves me, Hannah and TJ. The girls rush off each morning to play with a fellow tck (third culture kid). He arrives promptly at 8:30 each morning. Oops, I better go wake up TJ so she is ready.

Thinking about the community in the castle. Thinking about the different cultures here. Thinking about other communities and individuals we have been with. What are the similarities. What are the differences. Thinking about my birthday party and the conversations when 2 completely opposite individuals get together.

So, what happens when you take an american hippie who has lived in a self-build bus or old american rv for 10 years and never stayed at a campground and you put him in the same space as a german/swiss man who lives in a new house and has never taken his factory build vw campervan out without staying in a campground. You get very interesting conversations, changing paradigms and a smile on Debbie’s face when I wake up in the morning.

This is the rubbing of shoulders. The wearing down of rough edges. This is a broadening of our worldview that helps us feel alive. Sometimes it is fun. Sometimes painful. Sometimes we laugh through our pain. Sometimes we cry. Always, we are changed.

Thinking about the good and bad that individuals carry. The good and bad that cultures carry. It seems strange but poetic that our greatest strengths share the room of our greatest shortcomings. Cultures that carry strength can become intolerant of weakness in others.  Cultures that carry beauty can become hedonistic and soft. What about easy-going?  Does that share the room with laziness? Does promiscuity share the room with love? What about my culture/cultures? Easier to see other cultures than your own.

Makes me think. What helps us swing to the good side of our culture? Our country cultures. Our personal cultures. What swings us to the bad?

I have time to think this morning. My family is dispersed around the world. They are rubbing shoulders with other cultures. Learning and growing. Laughing and crying. Broadening their worldview. Time for another proud mama sigh.