One of the realities of living somewhere that is similar enough to my home country is that the differences can still catch me by surprise.
That’s right, passengers often sit in the front seat of a cab.
“How you going?”… “Yeah, good”
When tracking a conversation: “Yeah, nah” sometimes means “I follow, but don’t agree” while “Nah, yeah” can mean “that’s wrong…but we know better”
Because these slight differences come up against my years of being shaped by different social behaviours (and spellings) and language cues, I am still getting accustomed to them in many ways. When I catch them my reaction varies anywhere from annoyance to a silent, internal reprimand (that’s right, I should know better by now). Essentially, it’s a shrug.
But I would do well to take a lesson from my sons, for whom the world is still all about discovery. And there is something so endearing about seeing the world with such wonder and awe, where delight and fear hold hands a little more closely sometimes.
I recently saw the joy of a new discovery as my oldest son learned to ride his bike on his own. I was moved to commemorate the occasion into writing:
Learning to ride
I don’t remember how old I was when I learned to ride a bicycle
but I remember that feeling
when the one staying the balance lets go
when it feels like the joy itself could keep the pedals going
and today I got to see that in your eyes
and love all the luster that comes when the world opens up
as you proclaim this
the best day ever
Admittedly, not all cultural discoveries lead to such expressions of joy or feelings of delight. Or don’t find us feeling as accomplished as if we’ve found our balance for the first time. But I do believe that keeping a sense of wonder is a good thing to nourish and could even help us appreciate our neighbors neighbours a bit more and see them in a way that would make God delight.