011a_What I’ve noticed … redux (short)

Post Title: 011a_What I’ve noticed … redux (short)
Written Date: 31 Oct, 2015
Posted Date: 31 Oct, 2015

This really will be short. Comments (on the blog, and personal to me), but mostly my own reflections about the last post, are worth noting in this redux, but only briefly then on to writing about Africa/Namibia/Cultures, etc.

NOBODY mentioned my batik cover! Rats. Maybe it isn’t as cool as I think it is. On the other hand, I really like it, so that’s what it’s all about, right? It makes my living area seem more like Africa, me, and more like home. And if it isn’t obvious, I’m not going to quit my day job to become an interior designer.

I didn’t read my last posting for three days after posting it, and had decided it was shamelessly, and dangerously (?), self-revelatory, possibly at some people’s expense who saw themselves in my words. I now have a better feel for authors being concerned about publishing works that seem to make comments about, or base characters on, friends and family. Obviously sometimes they do. How else does a person write than from a base of their own experiences?

Having re-read it finally, I’m OK with it. Actually pretty happy with it.

The early conclusion I’ve come to is that what some people (you?) miss is that this is about me, not about you and how you see yourself in my musings.

If you feel like you are one of the close friends that exude love and acceptance, you are right. I treasure you being in my life. And you are welcome to take that personally, but it’s still about me – not you. And if you’ve told me, privately or publicly, that you miss my posts and have done it in an appreciative way, I likewise appreciate your inputs sincerely.

If you see yourself in a less flattering light, realize that I don’t hold grudges against you, or how you act, or who you are, or whether or not you wanted me to write more and how you said it. No one specific person is referred to in my writing, and in fact it may be impacted by me making stuff up in my own mind based on my (human, and imperfect) memory of what happened and how I feel about it. And it was also probably affected by my yielding to feeling a little sorry for myself (sorry for doing that publicly), and/or “crossing a line” in my own mind about how much responsibility I tend to accept for your feelings. A lot, as it turns out, and I’m not too pleased about that, about myself. I’m working on it.

Last paragraph, I promise.

Maybe I should just write and stick this in a drawer. But the choice I’ve made is to put it out there. Sometimes not all that pretty, and sometimes clumsy, and sometimes you (“dear reader”) may choose to feel personally distraught at what you see as references to you. I regret if that is uncomfortable for you. But… please bear in mind that this is about me – not a thinly veiled opportunity to tell you how you should be. This place is changing me, and I like it. Let me have that space, please. How you feel about it is up to you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, or on me. I’m OK if it makes you think, regardless of what that thinking consists of. I’m also OK with your sharing your thoughts with me, but I accept those thoughts as being about you – not me or how I should be. But even if you aren’t happy about it, I’m going to do it anyway.

THAT’S where my daughter gets that! Still, I wish she’d write. Sigh….

(postscript: I really need to work on my concept of “short”. Oh well.)

011_What I’ve noticed in three months

Post Title: 011_What I’ve noticed in three months (about me!)
Written Date: 28 Oct, 2015
Posted Date: 28 Oct, 2015

No photos this time. I decided to stop with what I originally just planned on starting with when it got a little longer than I’d planned. Also, retitled the post. You’ll get the original title soon, but this one’s going out now. (postscript – one photo! At the bottom.)

This is a pretty self-indulgent musing. You won’t learn a lot about Namibia, but you may recognize some of what I say about yourself,or me, or not.

—————

Wow, three months since I’ve posted. I obviously could have found a few minutes here and there, and perhaps I’ll get “better” (?), maybe more regular, with postings. But I honestly don’t feel too badly about it. The past three months are months 4-6 of being in Namibia, and months 2-4 of being at Penduka, and I have been doing a LOT of experiencing, adjusting, and thinkingfeeling on many fronts. For now, suffice it to say it is all worthwhile. This is one of life’s great experiences.

I think one of the reasons I don’t post/write more often is that I usually feel like I should create some sort of complete picture, and I just can’t in the time available, or with the number of impressions that somehow need to be expressed. But I’ll try to write more, with shorter and more specific topics of the moment. No promises! I am “otherwise engaged” a lot over here.

What I notice about life and relationships from the “other side” of what I’m used to:

It’s not only a “foreign” culture (to me) that has occupied my energy, it also gives me an entirely new perspective on friends, family, relationships, and other things I (probably all of us) often tend to take for granted. Note that these are mostly about changes in my own awareness. Very little about others has changed. A few notable notices:

  • As I get older (now 66), I love the fact that I keep learning nuances to things I felt I knew about years ago. And the connection/family orientation in Namibia points out some of these things much more clearly than I am accustomed to. Case in point: Friends, and love, is really what it’s all about. Particularly in Sausalito I managed to make a few close friends that to this day accept me for who and what I am, and they let it show in every communication. Even when I’m away and out of touch for a LONG time, every time they write, or Skype, or call on WhatsApp, they are interested in what’s going on with me, and letting me know what’s going on with them. I love it, and I love them.
  • Even folks I don’t know as well have gently, and nicely, let me know that they enjoy the posts and would love to see more, and they do it in a way that expresses an interest in what I have to share and say in a way that says “they miss me.” It’s sweet, and thank you for the reminders.
  • Some of the people in my life who have been the worst at staying in touch over the years are also the worst at reminding me of how guilty I should feel for not posting more often. I can happily report that guilt has pretty much disappeared from my life. Popeye has become a mentor, much to my surprise: “I yam what I yam.” Love it or leave it alone.
  • Many of my own communications in past years have been driven by the kind of “expectation” and judgment inferred from the previous paragraph. I plead lack of understanding, and apologize. Like I said, I’m still growing, and realizing, and learning.
  • This is not new, but it is a little more clear than it has been in the past. Just because I live up to a pact in opening up and expanding my personal ability to connect and care doesn’t mean it will be matched by a reciprocating effort by the other party iving up to their part of the pact. Sad, and kind of painful, but true. The “other party” isn’t by definition wrong or to be blamed, but that doesn’t keep it from being uncomfortable and my feeling alone, again. As I told a 23 year old colleague here who is becoming a good friend, just because you’re “old” (I am, apparently 🙂 ) doesn’t mean we don’t have the same feelings we had when we were, say, 23. I don’t know that I could have understood that when I was 23 either. And no, the colleague is not someone referred to earlier in this self-revelatory aside. Why does this belong under the heading of this section? I’m not sure I would have noticed it, or taken the risk, or had the reaction, if I wasn’t in the middle of a foreign culture that values relationship and connection so much more than the cultures I’ve experienced in the USA or western Europe. That’s just me noticing what I experience, not a “truth”.
  • This experience is “real life”. There is no “going back to the real world”, or the “real world” back in the USA. It’s real, it’s in your face, and it is a force to be dealt with in unexpected ways. It points out the wonderful things, and the not so wonderful things, in all of us regardless of our color, culture, or beliefs. Talk about being in touch with reality, and noticing when others aren’t. I think saying “back in the real world” is a form of denial.
  • I’m closing this section with “I’m getting what I really wanted to get out of this experience in the Peace Corps in Africa.” It looks a little different, takes more time than I figured on, and in most ways isn’t what I thought it might be, but it’s very real and very fulfilling. I’m really, really glad I’m here. I just can’t be in a hurry – the environment won’t let me be. That’s taken some getting used to, and I’m still working on it.

OK, OK, OK, …. ONE photo! But just because I really like the cover, and it was delivered yesterday.

Batik Cover for my Sofa

My new Batik cover for my sofa. Made to order by the women here at Penduka! The cover (not the sofa) is definitely coming back with me when/if I come back! It will fit on almost any sofa.