21.4.18

Home in the world

I have been listening to my first ever audiobook (one that's not written for four year olds, anyway) called "At Home in the World, " a travel memoir by Tsh Oxenreider.  You, too, can travel around the world vicariously through her family of five, without any of the pain or hassle or expense that comes with it.  Let it be said that I have no plans for a round-the world journey, nor do we have any major plans in our immediate future.  Jesse doesn't even have a passport yet.


As fun and captivating as the book is, I have the feeling that as exotic as Malaysia might seem on the return address of an envelope, it's not an exotic lifestyle for us by now.  Live in a place long enough and it stops being extraordinary and becomes really quite ordinary.  Ellis and Jesse, having been born here, don't know anything different.  Ordinary for Ellis is knowing where to watch for monkeys on his short ride to school in the morning.  It's going to school with kids of all colors of the rainbow, and growing up accustomed to being surrounded by a sea of various languages.  For me, ordinary is being constantly stared at out in public, asked by everyone if I like Malaysia,  and knowing where to stand when waiting for my fresh meat at the market so the butcher won't splatter its raw juices on me (and if anyone asked me if I liked Malaysia at that moment I would probably say no).  It's never needing an alarm clock because the prayers of the mosque serenade us every morning at the same time-quarter to six.  It's sweating 24 hours a day.  It's eating at a table topped with a feast normally including, but not limited to, Chinese, Middle-Eastern, Malay, and Japanese food - with KFC thrown in for good measure, and eaten with several different kinds of utensils- chopsticks, forks and spoons, skewers, our hands.  It's using the Google Translate app to read the children's books in a multitude of languages we have on our shelves.  It's explaining why we don't have snow or leaves that turn colors or cherries to pick.  Or why we can't just drive to Colorado to dig for dinosaur bones.  Tsh writes in her book of ordinary things like this as some sort of anomaly, but it's exactly things like this that don't seem memoir-worthy in the least.  It's just life.

Changing the world one toothy grin at a time
No, I'm not going to strap on a backpack and head out the door anytime soon.  I've got a diaper bag freshly stocked with the hand sanitizer and tissues we need in this part of the world instead.  I've got baby wipes and fresh turmeric on my list for my next trip to the grocery store.  But in the meantime, until we muster up the strength and energy and courage to go on an adventure out there, we can relish in our own slice of ordinary here in our little corner of the globe.
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© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall