A month has passed since I arrived here now. I have settled in well since getting here and have done a whole bunch of things I’d never done before, and a whole bunch of things I had done before… And a whole bunch of things I had done before which were now happening in a different way, in a new place with new rules and new faces and so on… It’s been something I’ve said to a few people close to me, the notion of perspective through displacement.

On our first day together with some Doctor Betty's fries.
On our first day together with some Doctor Betty’s fries.

It’s been said a few times now, “everything you take for granted and assume is real is rewritten when you realise what is real for everybody else.” That’s true in a more existential terrain but I’m of course talking here about cultural and geographical displacement. While my previous revelation about how similar things are worldwide remains standing, within the sameness of things on face value, so much is different from what we expect as the norm when we move to a different culture.

I’m not complaining about the difference in conduct here. It wouldn’t be my place to criticise the traditions or activities of an entire culture. Each culture on this planet has generation after generation – thousands of years of hand-me-down rules, ethics, ideas and traditions… That’s a period of time bafflingly rich in complexity and variations and transmutations and developments… Next to my 21 years, my experience seems laughable. Naturally, it’s not invalid but the reasons for any cultural way of being must be regarded with more respect if it is aged. After all, that which has survived through the years has done so through a measure of great ingenuity – or great tenacity – and there is a lot that can be learned from this level resourcefulness and adaptability.

A simple and every day example of this is one which is to do with time and the heat of the sun. In England, the heat of the sun is virtually nonexistent much less obstructive. (Apart from during about two weeks in the “summer” in which the temperature reaches about three or four degrees higher than normal and everybody goes mental and calls it a heatwave.) Being in a city which the name of translates to “Mexico’s Oven”, naturally the heat is going to be a little more present. Aside from the fact that everybody seems to want me to hate the heat here like they do, the way that people do things is directly affected by the heat.

My first real Mexican (vegetarian) tacos
My first real Mexican (vegetarian) tacos

Due to the crazy high temperatures that are normal here during the summer, it’s common for the people to make their plans for the nighttime, or at least for when the sun is fading. This was strange for me at first. Where I’m from, people do

That time my head got squashed
That time my head got squashed

everything they can to be in their house before it gets dark. Unless they insist upon going out for a meal or to get twatted. There are exceptions to this of course but that’s generally the way things work. It was intriguing for me to discover this difference in expected conduct. What was interesting, mostly, was that both Rosa and I took our norm as the norm and hadn’t given it any other thought until we came together with the intention of making plans.

That’s just one of many things which have given me the opportunity to once again realise that just because I’ve always done things one way, they doesn’t mean it’s the only way.

It doesn’t take much and you really don’t need to go far to notice a minor difference. Coming as far as I’ve come – from England to Mexico – I’ve seen a huge difference in a lot of things. Not to say that Rosa and I have encountered difficulties. Not at all. We are both present and honest enough with each other, ourselves and any given situation which we may be faced with to ever let things get on top of us to a degree where uncontrollable arguments break out, or any arguments at all to be honest. Knock wood.

It’s been shown to us time and time again that in the face of adversity, putting ourselves there with the other and not letting our emotions run amok is the most beneficial thing for us both when it comes to reaching a position of agreement. Neither of us enjoys to argue and neither of us sees a benefit in it. As such, it doesn’t happen. Why? Because we don’t let it happen. With flexibility and plenty of experience with what it feels like to enact an old or learned pattern, not arguing is easy. How does that work? Arguments come when we let our emotions take over. Which emotions in particular? Anger, frustration, ignorance.

When I was this city's mascot for hilarity
When I was this city’s mascot for hilarity

Ignorance comes when we are unprepared to look at certain facts with honesty. Frustration comes when we realise that swallowing our pride and looking at things honestly would solve the problem. And anger comes when we try to take the power back without being honest with ourselves, the situation and the others concerned.

Paying attention to this and being brave enough to not bullshit ourselves has been one of, if not the, thing that has enabled Rosa and I to integrate the expectations and traditions which we have each come to take as the norm into our relationship. Whether it’s the convenient time to do a certain activity or something a little more intricate, being understanding and present has been all it takes to remain balanced together. And now into the second month of our relationship with the physical component added – and into the eleventh month of our emotional and spiritual relationship – things for Rosa and I are, have been and will continue to be an exciting adventure of love, exploration and honesty.

Thank you for sharing this with me.

Keep it real,

Namaste,

Live, love and play

-A-

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