It’s a Joy day today… brisk winds, lots of sunshine, moderately warm temperatures… Definitely a Joy kind of day.
One which my mother would have spent with every window at the cottage wide open, with a baseball game on the television (or radio, if she must) and endless mugs of coffee & cigarettes. Until it was vodka salad time, and then she’d switch from coffee to martinis.
I have been thinking about both my parents a lot over the past few weeks – not for any real reason other than, as I noted in my last blog, I am further away from my siblings and my uncle & aunt now than I’ve felt in a long while. Geographically, I’m actually a little closer than I was a month ago, but geography isn’t everything when you’re looking at separations. It’s this whole living in a different culture thing… which really, I must get over soon.
And it’s not like I haven’t done this before which I have, and in the South. In the very South, where there are endless days of heat & humidity and bugs the size of your fist and men driving pick-up trucks with one hand because the other is holding a Bud. At least this time, there’s the internet! Newspapers and television networks on line. Skype phone calls. Instant messaging and letters. Of course, one has to have internet at home to be able to enjoy all these things, and one will have internet at home very, very, very soon. But even so. Even so.
It’s not just my parents I’ve been thinking of, nor my brothers & sister and their families, nor Uncle Bruce & Aunt Patricia, but also places I love and people I’m not sure I’m going to see again and familiar signs & language. Spanish! Dear Mr McPherson, I barely remember how to count to 10 in Spanish – I should have paid more attention. But then I remember that there are people here I love and things here I enjoy and when going out to dinner for two, with a bottle of wine, two apps, two entrees, tax & tip come to $64 and it’s really good, I should enjoy the experience, right? Which I will. I do.
But even so. Even so.
Did you know the original meaning of chauvinism was not about misogyny but excessive patriotism? Notwithstanding that Nicolas Chauvin may not have been a real person, the ideal of chauvinism, that my country is worth defending, always & honourably, is one that has real meaning for those of us who have had claims made on our hearts by country. I feel that way in some ways about the Faeroe Islands (because of my darling girl, Durita) and Norway (because of our dear, late, Julie) and in many, many ways about Australia (where, in a sense, I grew up, even though I only lived there for a year).
I think I am chauvinistic about these countries because they are, in many ways, not known well – and in the case of the Faeroe Islands, probably not known at all! My love for the people I know there makes me want to love their countries, to teach others about the beauty and strength that formed those I love.
But I have not developed those same chauvinistic feelings about this country, and I think about that a lot. I’m sitting here in this gloriously Joy windy day and I have her voice in one ear complaining about Americans – meaning isolationist foreign policy and lack of understanding of anything that isn’t American and terrible tourists – and I have Jeff’s voice in the other ear complaining about being sinned against without sinning just because of where he was born – and I wonder if both of those voices is why I am in a Switzerland state of mind.
On a completely different note, watch for the newest Love Affair story!! Coming soon to your favourite blog. Thanks for all the support & encouragement.