“I am not from these parts; I wasn’t born here. The wheel of fortune: spinning, spinning, has brought me here.” [From a Gypsy Song]
I can’t speak for any other expat out there but it has been my experience that living in a different culture can at times bring oneself to a such an extreme conscious plane of existence to where reality is seen for what it truly is – mysterious and unknowing.
Back in the states I had a context for everything, meaning my reality was constantly being propped up by what I thought I knew. And now given the perspective of distance I can appreciate my then situational awareness was at any given time warped under the gravity of personal opinion shaped by my own personality.
Rumi, the Sufi poet once said, “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.”
Living in Mexico these past 4 years has changed me. It hasn’t done a complete makeover but living here has made me more mindful of simple things.
Like not fully understanding the daily language means that many passing conversations can be ignored; replaced by the thoughts in my head. And thoughts I have discovered – however personal – are still somewhat a product of the environment. And if the backdrop of the environment is foreign then it stands to reason that the context from wherein you frame newly weighed out opinions can be dramatically different.
Tangentially, Mexico somewhat reminds me of India in that it is a place that is in your face real. Traveling in India one quickly realizes that neither the place nor the people can be ignored. Mexico is more subtle. Here you have to pay attention. And when you do you are rewarded with bearing witness to another reality, one that a foreigner can only partially appreciate.
Because all the rules change. In Mexico, what is life and what is death are a world apart from what passes as same in the US.