…it’s not better or worse. Just different. There’s a social science called psychogeography generally considered to have been started by Guy Debord that covers this topic, I recommend this reading to all.
Things are not the same here as they were in my former world, that of the UK civil service. Whether I define “here” either as volunteering with Ninth Wave Global (NWG) or as living in Campeche, Mexico, I have the same thoughts and reach the same conclusions.
I paraphrase the NWG team (something like a non-governmental organisation NGO) when I write, –being here is an experience, things/tasks don’t always get finished, that’s all OK and that I should treat being “here” as being on a learning curve–.
On a regular occurrence interesting discussion interesting discussion topics arise like; why did I choose to come here to volunteer with an NGO in “not so well heard of” city in Mexico? What were my; choices, decision processes, considerations on how I might fit in? Did I think I would have the expectations of a tourist or the expectations of someone trying to live here? All very BIG questions.
Gets you thinking… How does a “privileged, white, educated person” feel when living in a completely different city with completely different social norms and mores from what she’s used to?
Before I arrived all I knew was I would pack very few expectations in my suitcase, and that I would (1) be sensitive and respectful to the place, (2) learn the language, (3) not ask too much of the place, (4) get to know the people, culture and society, (5) find out what is normal to the citizens, (6) travel on local transport with the local people would (language skills dependant) and (7) support local businesses.
There is an article I have read (link) that suggests moving to a new place causes your brain activity to function more like that of a young child again. IE learning about everything all over again. Being curious about everything. For me, a side effect of this however does seem to have been that other usual brain activity, key example being manners, have temporarily gone AWOL. Now that I feel more familiar here, I must work on my manners again…
That said, I’m about to go into the jungle via the Usumacinta river for 2 weeks so everything will be all new all over again. More on that later…