Stranger in a Strange Land

“A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
“A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes

So like Moses, “I have become a resident foreigner in a foreign land.” Then  unlike Valentine Michael Smith from Robert A. Heinlein‘s novel A Stranger in a Strange Land I am neither a Protagonist  nor am I any kind of hero. But I must admit it feels like I’m relearning life all over again, it is an odd feeling not being able to communicate except on a rudimentary level. Where I grew up in rural America with both parents the rules where straight, understandable and organized. Things where predictable then in a much simpler world. But I have found there are new rules in this Concrete Jungle, some that are hard to understand and others with great merit. It is very curious that it takes time to see these differences and understand the nuances.

I begin with all this because exploring the new culture I’m in is broadening my world view. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. wrote:

“A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

This new world is stretching my mind, the ideas and dreams I once had during childhood are returning. My world view will never be the same. I once dreamedStranger in a Strange Land that I wanted to be a writer, now I understand that I’ve always been a storyteller of sorts. In Russia I have found my Baloo and for now will remain nameless has helped me to understand the expression “every man for himself,” “anything goes,” “might makes right,” “survival of the strongest,” “survival of the fittest,” “kill or be killed,” “dog eat dog” and “eat or be eaten,” are best left in my other world. There is also the social contrast which explicates the balance between the individual’s responsibility to the community and the community’s responsibility to the individual. I will leave it up the you as to which belongs to which world but truth be known each runs true for both but in different ways. Where rugged individualism in America is commonplace it doesn’t work real well here. Where I once thought I was defined by my individuality  is being challenged, now I understand it to who I am as part of the whole. It’s a piece of a puzzle that I didn’t even know that existed. But it stands to reason, the church is not a collection of parts, but living organism which works best when all the other parts understand they are a part of the body.

Then come the little nuances, things that you would think wouldn’t matter much like to “pull to plunge” or ” push to flush” either way it gets rid of the crap. Even when putting on my coat, I looked down and it was strange. It seems here the zipper was in my left hand and not my right, “Wow” a coat designed for left-handed people, now I knew I was in a strange land. The differences are many but one of the funniest is when going to the movies. We decided to see the Life of Pi (film). , which by the way was inspiration for this blog. When we ordered our popcorn and Coke I was surprised when I found the Coke had no ice, I mean Coke without ice at a movie, unusuallife-of-pi03.  I kindly asked for more ice, after being gone for several minutes our server returned with my ice, when I looked there was one, yes one ice cube. All I could do was chuckle, Dorothy we’re not in Kansas anymore. I could end this by saying there is no place like home, but that would be a bit cliche. So I will end by saying where my head hits the pillow “is home”.

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