Wabi-Sabi


Wabi-Sabi (noun) Origin: Japanese | The discovery of beauty within the imperfections of life and art.

This yet another Japanese aesthetic that has a very deep meaning in which life and art are viewed as beautiful not because they are perfect and eternal but because they are imperfect and fleeting.

We experience happiness as a series of pleasing moments. They come and go like clouds, unpredictable, fleeting, and without responsibility to our desires. Through honest self-work, reflection, and meditation, we begin to string more of these moments together, creating a web-like design of happiness that drapes around our lives. Tara Stiles

Every time I go home I find that everything has changed.  I mean some of the things are the same, but for the most part, it is all different.  Like in my brain that one laugh, that one smile, that one experience remains, but all of the emotions have changed.  It’s like starting over each time. Sometimes that makes me happy and sometimes that makes me sad. I try to hold on to the happy and ignore the sad.  However, it’s possible that the sadness and the anger and the misunderstandings help you to realize how fleeting the happy times are and how you should be holding on to them even tighter. These happy times are exactly the wabi-sabi that makes it all so beautiful.  That in the end, makes it all so very beautiful.

I get those fleeting, beautiful moments of inner peace and stillness – and then the other 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day, I’m a human trying to make it through in this world. Ellen DeGeneres

fleeting: Albatz; Tina; philos; ana; yamoto; xanbarbara; swati; penross; barbara; chris; mugdha

Sprachgefühl


Sprachgefühl (noun) Origin: German | A person who has the feel for a language.

This literally translates as ‘language feeling’ from compound nouns combining Sprache (language) and Gefühl (feeling). Basically, this does not only refer to a person who has a good understanding of foreign languages but also to a person who has intuitiveness for what is linguistically appropriate.

The truth is, I have no real understanding of foreign languages.  I do have a good understanding and am very intuitive to what people are saying, meaning, or wanting though. I’m perceptive to the needs of others.  Not always accommodating but very perceptive to what they want or need.

I have taken both Spanish and Nepali courses for work.  Nepali was easier for me because it was completely not logical and did not even use the U.S. alphabet but an easier form of Hindi.  I was also able to learn the Korean alphabet when I was in Korea. However, the Spanish language was and continues to be a struggle for me.  There is something about learning a very hard language that makes the teachers a little more forgiving and makes the learning more memorable.  

As you can see, I was a very diligent student.  However, few of the measures I took helped me learn the language.  I just do not have a mind for this type of thing.  I enjoyed the role playing, the music, the movies and I could always get the gist.  But the memorizing of nonsensical words in nonsensical sentences didn’t help me at all.  It was exhausting.

After 7 months of Spanish, a few weeks in Ecuador in a language program, and many folks doing their best to help me out, I was still confusing past, present, future, imperative, gender, words in general.  I think because Spanish is everywhere and you can make out so many of the words, i felt it would be so much easier.

For me it was not.  I cannot tell you how many times I would be telling someone a story about my childhood in Spanish, and the person would look at me and say, “Wait, me?  Wait, you?  Wait, who are you talking about?”  My feelings were that if you did not understand me completely, you should at least understand if you or I had done something.. work it out man.  When i tell you a story about being attacked by a seal…. do you really have to ask “who” was attacked by a seal? I mean, unless you were actually attacked by a seal then yes, that is a great question.  Anyways.  

Once I completed my language classes, I completely enjoyed every country I visited.  I loved being able to even partially communicate in any of the languages of the countries I visited.  It completely changed the travel experience. 

Also, even though I did not quite know all the words, I was able to tell jokes, laugh at jokes, sing along, and carry on broken conversations with just about anyone. I think that having a “feel” for a language is sometimes more important than to be able to speak it perfectly.  Sadly my bosses do not always agree with my philosophy .. and sure they are at least partly right.  I do know that I had fun and I do know that people had fun with me and sometimes at my expense for my communication errors.  In my world, that means total success.

I have been to many countries at this point and in many of the countries I never spoke the language at all.  I think if you looked at all of the pictures below, you would not be able to know which countries I understood and spoke the languages and which ones I did not.  For me, the understanding came with the smiles.  It came with laughing over common states of being.  It came from eating and drinking the same food and realizing that we all had some of the same joys and some of the same sadnesses. 

I am definitely classifiable as a Sprachgefühl … if that is even a classifiable state of being.  See, not even sure if this is a real word, but you feel me, right?

what does the dog say?   Rochelle; Ibonoco; varnika; Rosie; Troy; Debasis; Jim; Rebecca; helen; annette; libertatemamo; albigensia; Cherie; suzanne

Sehnsucht


Sehnsucht (n.) – Origin: German – Definition: The inconsolable longing in the human heart for a far, familiar, non-earthly land one can identify as one’s home.

I spent 3 years teaching English in Korea.  My youngest daughter lived with me for the first year.  I homeschooled her and she would often come into my classroom and “assist” me in teaching the kids. My oldest daughter came and lived with me for a bit, and then off on her own for a bit teaching English herself.

During both of their times in Korea with me, we hiked, went to mask festivals, tea festivals, ate, ate, and ate more than you can imagine.  We volunteered at an orphanage and at a soup kitchen.  My kids volunteered on the set of a “movie” once and we participated in a variety of artist events.

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Sometimes I feel a bit of sehnsucht for this special country and often consider it my second home from home.  I will sometimes dream that when I am done doing what I am currently doing, I will go back there once again and resume my previous life.  I know they say you can never go home again. I hope that is not true.  I will forever hold Seoul in my heart as one of the most special times in my life.  My daughters both agree that if I were to go back, this is the one place they would follow me to if they could.

Korea – Rolling; avagal liz; corvec; zhenya; graeme; naomi; charlie; fugitive; sofie; joseph; hab; kaja; secretmoona; margaux; bamculture; stephanie;

Dérive


Dérive (n.) – Origin:Latin/French – A spontaneous journey where the traveler leaves their life behind for a time to let the spirit of the landscape and architecture attract and move them.

Venezuela was my first posting.  I have some of the fondest memories of this place and hope to one day be able to go back and revisit some of my favorite places and discover new ones.  This was a very special time in my life for so many reasons.  I hope can you vicariously enjoy some of my favorite times there.

Skydiving and Canyoning

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Merida

Colonia Tovar

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Port Ordaz/Ciudad Bolivar/ Playas/Chichiriviche Cerca de Morocoy/ Santa Theresa/ Avila/ Caracas

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Catatumbo/ Delta Orinoco/ Los LLanos / otres partes

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If you asked me what my favorite part of living and working in Venezuela was, I would not be able to answer.  I loved all of it.  My colleagues, my friends, the random people I met and places I went.  Just so many good things.  Like I said, I would love, love, love to go back and hopefully one day I will.

Venezuela: Geri; Barbara; Luke; Isaiah; Elliot; Oliver; Dillan; Noah; Mason; ravanji; Rob; Archyde;

Annu Miarabilis


Happy New Year!!!

Annu Miarabilis (n.) (phr.) – Origin: Latin – Definition: A remarkable or notable year in history; a year of wonders and miracles, used to speak hopefully of the future.

happy new year

The year 2020 has brought us so much negativity and bad news. The world news corps sharing their 24/7 pandemic of fear. COVID-19, an actual pandemic, has caused millions of people to lose their lives or at minimum, their way of life.  Fire, politics, racism, riots, masks, online education, all followed by memes to mock it all.

Based on the above negative aspects of last year, I have decided on a new personal writing/photo challenge for 2021. Words – happy words, weird words, words relating to travel, words that sound funny, words that represent my identity, words that I have never heard of before, words that might very well be made up.

So here is a toast to 2021 with the hope that it will take off in leaps and bounds, turning into an annus mirabilis.  With love and memories to all past travels, smiles, hugs, and kisses and hoping all of these things can resume!!!!

Paul; sadje; charlotte; vincent; Phil; Sandra; Pooja; Debbie; TrangWanderlustigEugenia