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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Missing

It was wonderful spending some time  with my parents in Spain and it was hard to say good-bye to them. Besides their company, they brought letters and cards from friends and family at home, a wonderful treat, especially the ones written by hand.  Certainly the people I love are the hardest to be away from. However, I often have the chorus of the Stephen Stills' song in my head: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with." And so I am trying to extend the love I have received to those I meet. Incidentally, as I was cleaning out my wallet before I left India, I found a tiny folded-up fortune in the change pocket. I have no idea how long it had been in there; I took a few things out of there that I know had been in there for years, but that's not important. What is important and I have felt all along as I've been traveling is what the fortune said:  "You will always be surrounded by true friends."  That has seemed to be my fortune thus far and I feel so fortunate to continually cross paths with amazing people who have been welcoming and friendly towards me.

All that said, what I really meant to write about here are the things I will and will not miss about the places I've been so far...

When I started writing, I was on the ferry going from Morocco to Spain. If you are Facebook friends with my mom you know we nicknamed it the barfferry- I'll let you figure out why; thankfully, my parents and I were not among the nauseated.  We were in Morocco less than 48 hours and were only in Tangier, so I didn't have much time to grow attached to much, but I will miss the amazing spearmint tea. So so so yummy! Thankfully, in Israel and Palestine, it is also common to put mint in the tea. The lemon tarts were also pretty tasty. I won't miss the "guides" constantly approaching us in the guise of being helpful, but really looking to make some money from us. There was one particularly unpleasant encounter  yesterday with a man "helping" a man we were with find a caftan. When our friend didn't buy one, the "helper" got nasty with him.  I experienced a little of this aggressive hustling in India, too, but generally didn't engage with anyone who seemed overly interested in me and behaving thus, I got along just fine.  Thankfully, there were many kind strangers who truly did just want to help me in India...

From Spain (Sevilla) I miss the street performers who seemed to be at every corner. I miss the ability to walk in the streets at night, feeling safe since everyone else in the city is also out strolling. I miss chocolate croissants, but in general,  I won't miss the food, as the Spanish diet is not so vegetarian-friendly. I definitely miss being able to communicate easily with locals and read the street signs.  I'm back to knowing virtually nothing of the local languages (Arabic and Hebrew), though I think I already know a whopping 5 or 6 words in Arabic now. 

From India I don't miss the trash in the streets...or the excrement left there by cows, goats, or dogs, but I do miss the never-got-old novelty of the cows, goats, or water buffaloes in the streets. I don't miss the smells of urine or burning plastic. I do miss the smells of incense and the flowers that everyone seemed to have, either because they grew them themselves or bought them for decoration or religious purposes for their home or business. Marigolds in particular were everywhere. I won't miss bucket bathing or hand-washing my clothes, but will miss the reminders they gave me to be conservative in my water use. I don't miss the possibility of any number of mosquito-spread diseases or taking malaria medicine (I still have a few days left to take them). I do miss the little geckoes that sometimes hung out on the walls. I do miss the amazing variety of colors and patterns of women's saris and salwar kameez suits. I miss the food and the fact that in every single restaurant, there were many options  for me, since so many Indians are vegetarian or eat meat only occasionally. And, of course, I miss the people.  

But regardless of what I do or do not miss from the places I've been, I'll keep trying to love the culture and people of each new place I go.  I'll do my best to love the one I'm with.

1 comment:

  1. You are so descriptive in your writing, Cory. I almost held my nose while trying to imagine the smells on the streets in India. What exactly will you be doing in Palestine? This is the place you are visiting that I am most interested in. I have never been able to get the faces of the children out of my mind since our trip in 09. The descriptions of our guides of their experiences with police at borders, and their lack of water for periods of time. I have just joined the Eco-Justice Worship Consortium and the first worship on the 21st will be about water. Blessings on your time there and I will be waiting for more blogs.
    Maryann smith

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