Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time. ~Motto of the Baltimore Grotto
Living in a place that is not mine is a challenge. But this place where I live, is a lot more than a challenge, since the words challenge or difficult don’t quite fit the description. It is one of those things in life that remains the way it is. The place where I live takes all my concentration and imagination to keep myself going. This is a small community, which includes the positives and negatives of a small group of people living together. Between friends we call this ‘the bubble’. This bubble is situated in a guest country. None of us belong here, we are all guests. It feels a little bit like being on a different planet.
People who are born and raised here look different from us, so we can be spotted from a mile away as being different. Here they eat different things, so finding food is a full time job for a lot of us. There are different values and diverse ways of thinking about life. This means that us guests have to be clear about our own values. Of course, there is also the choice of adopting ‘their’ values. All this together, brings a lot of adventures in my life and memories to fill a book with. My family and friends can tell you the most amazing stories. Though sadly, not everyone here is interested in hearing them. Sometimes because the listener is so wrapped up in her own environment or the stories are just too hard to understand. For an outsider, it does look like we have it all so why any negative stories whatsoever. I guess some of our experiences are hard to understand if one has never been to this place.
The part that we would expect to be easy is the living inside a ‘bubble’ part. We would think, because it is a small community this is easy. But that is not the case. There is this pressure on. People’s expectations are very high. For example, because we hold a certain passport we must belong to a certain group, or because our kids are a certain age we should always go to the same places together with the same people. It is funny that our own individuality goes completely out of the window.
For me, to remain who I am is very important, even for health issues! We all need our space and the choice of our own opinions, as much as we need nourishment and physical activity. To appreciate each other as individuals and not put any one in a box. To give someone a chance to be happy and develop in the way they want. To look at our own lives less, and more towards living another day, but lastly to be able to see the day for what is. It is looking at life as a glass half full instead of half empty.
To ensure that, we have to have a support group around us. Friends who are behind me whether it is a good day or a bad day. A safe place to be, so I can let go of any emotion that is with me at that moment. It is a basic need in all of us and it is very important in this environment that we live in. To be safe, to feel nurtured, and to be loved. It is within everyones power to do this. It sounds simple, but surely what goes around comes around.
I am in a difficult environment at the moment. This has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Diehards, who know what I am talking about, friends who are my support system. So I can learn my lessons, to not take everything personally and to not always wonder if it is really that important to be right.
So that we can create our own place in this ‘bubble’. A place where we can agree that this is a place where none of us want to be, but it is the place we will all keep memories of, with tears in our eyes and smiles on our face.