Saturday, Jul 16, 2016

We were invited to Helmut and Trudy’s for lunch today. Helmut is in our Spanish class. He and Trudy are originally from Austria but have lived in Australia the last 43 years before moving to Cuenca. Helmut also invited Aurobindo, also in our Spanish class, who is our friend from Oklahoma, via Sri Lanka.

What amazing stories were shared of travel and adventure over the last 30+ years. I think living in Europe lends an advantage to travel, and affords a unique window to experience varied ways of life and living. What I find interesting is that many of the European countries are not larger than the individual states in the US.

So traveling through Europe, while a smaller journey in miles than traveling through the US, these countries have so much more variety in architecture, foods, and even customs than one finds driving through all the US states. Obviously the age and history of these European countries offers a deep richness that our 240 years as a country hasn’t afforded us.

I also appreciate the transportation methods and routes available through Europe. Either by bus or train or a combination of both, one can venture from England to India and have an adventure of a life time, really. For the wanderer at heart, Europe seems like a great playground.

What was really fantastic about our gathering was the sharing of our stories. Although our geography was different the themes shared similarities. Leaving home, looking for jobs, establishing careers, finding love and relationships, looking to live life in a meaningful way. People from all different parts of the globe, following different paths to find happiness, now sitting together laughing and talking with each other, sharing bonds of respect and even admiration for each other’s journeys. It doesn’t seem so hard to do.

We each have our own story, and through our own stories we have made sense of life in the best way we can. What strikes me most about our gathering is that we have allowed room for one another’s stories. We can share and identify with some parts, maybe not others, but we hold each other with respect, compassion, and an openness to understand.

Sitting around the table, holding this space with one another, the food tastes better, the conversation is richer, and the world seems brighter.