I am now writing as I make my way home, in a neighbouring country, and the experiences that were daily life a week ago are already stories and anecdotes that only capture a shadow of reality.  As I pondered this fact today, Ironically, I realised that one of the greatest effects of living cross culturally on me has been to increase my observational attentiveness.   The realness of experience is emphasised when that experience is alien, a trip to the shops is transformed from a mundane chore to an opportunity to explore and understand the different.  Sounds, smells and smiles are observed and savoured when an experience is novel, and I have enjoyed consuming some of the richness of experience on offer.

The effect of this observational attentiveness of the foreign and changed my experience of the familiar by creating a habit of noticing things that might easily be neglected. The way the air feels in between your fingers as you type, the coolness of kitchen tiles through threadbare socks, the round light fittings contrasting with the angles of a square room, the way clouds of steam rise from a kettle, water molecules making organic patterns as though they are making the most of their new found freedom. Infinite unnoticed incidents and unappreciated glimpses of beauty drench even the dullest of days, the sheer realness of experience has astounded me over the last year, and I am eager to preserve an attitude of attentiveness and to see the glory in the everyday weather at home or abroad.

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