Sunday, 29 November 2015

The transient nature of reality

In a sense every location is its own version of reality. This is especially true within human societies, where travelling from one place to another can change what is and isn't so completely, that one might as well have moved to another planet. With different habits, different food, different sense of morals and ethics, not to mention often a different language, it's a different reality indeed.

Next month it'll be two years since I moved to Germany. At this point I can speak the language reasonably well, and in general I feel that everything here around me is 'normal'. The language, the habits, and so on. It's gotten to the point where I will refer to myself as a German citizen in conversations with my mother and others who do not live here. It just feels natural to do so.

The sense of feeling 'home' is an interesting concept, though. When something feels 'normal', it doesn't necessarily mean that one also feels at home. Thinking back to the past decades - except for when I still was a child - pretty much the entire time that I spent in the Netherlands was one of feeling lost and without a home.

Too many times I would find myself during that time in a train carriage or similar, feeling as if my life was just that: a transient moving between locations with me just there as observer. Gazing outside at the shifting landscape, while the garbled, distorted voices of my fellow travellers formed the background noise to this scene.

Only since I came to Germany have I felt something change there. It's not just the mere fact of having a fun, well-paying job, but also the interest and respect I receive from people here, from my employer to friends and even my family doctor. I never had any of that before.

All of this is a form of... solidity which I cannot quite remember experiencing before. For someone like me, who has moved throughout the Netherlands and the world almost constantly for a decade, the thought that maybe I do not have to live as a transient person is an almost alien and incomprehensible thought to entertain.

Verily, it's been a dream of mine for many years to have just this one house where I could live, do all my hobbies and entertain friends and family there as well. Just... normal, boring stuff. No nonsense about being special, dealing with supposed medical experts or having to fight with organisations and government instances just to be able to merely exist.

My life has become decidedly more boring. Less transient, I guess. Yet part of me still feels like it's stuck in that train carriage: just gazing at the shifting landscape outside while the garbled, distorted voices of my fellow travellers mesh together in an incomprehensible mockery of normalcy.


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