Transitioning here has been challenging. I have encountered a desire to give up, which is a somewhat alien concept to me. I believe the turning point was when I let the lump exist in my throat–when I realized with acceptance the reality of living in a foreign country is that you will always be a foreigner. No matter how many roots I grow or how well I speak the language or understand the culture I am still not from round here. Maybe the day will come when I don’t jump when someone stops me in the street to ask for directions, or I manage a cheery “Hola” to the elderly lady who greets me in my apartment building. I think there has been a fear that I would be dismissed with the stereotypes of my nationality. While that fear isn’t unfounded, and people will choose their behavior regardless, the reality is and always will be I am a foreigner. Even if I moved back to my hometown, I will still go through the process of trying to blend my experiences. I find that there is an incompatibility of me with the world and try as I may to fit in, I never can. I’m loud and I have red hair. Fitting in has never really been an option. Although, I have certainly tried and worn myself thin giving it a go. So there is one of my lessons from this Spain thing: You are a Foreigner (and that doesn’t mean a rock star). You are a in a strange land, and no amount of disguise or clever speech will cover with any sufficiency that fact. And so we (me and my fellow American teammates) live as awkward, bumbling, little creatures with truth spilling out as well, and I suppose that makes it all worth it…to see that the light can creeps out of us as accented and different we are.
Often when sci-fi comes up in conversations, minds roll flash images of badly costumed extraterrestrials and sound bites of monotone voices talking about some made-up physics phenomena. Our 50’s movies about Mars invasions have forever sealed the genre’s fate in our minds. But for me, what started out as copying my big brother turned out to be gathering stories that change me – not in some weird technology way (if you’re familiar with sci-fi, you would know it is highly detrimental and morally wrong to alter your mind or form for ambitious gain) – but rather in a hope way. Sci-fi is often about some form or risk of oppression, be it under an advanced species or self-inflicted bondage. There is great need for courage, perseverance and vision. And as I watch Firefly or read Dune (by Frank Herbert), I see people bond together to fight for humanness. They fight for family and liberty and vitality. They fight for it so terribly imperfectly, but do so nonetheless. And so as it turns out, sci-fi is about hope. Humans are nothing if not tenacious. Humans (and cockroaches) will out live anything. We survive. And we survive with our humanity intact, at least some of us. In The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, the man’s determination to keep his son safe in an apocalyptic hell is the story of love in a world without. This is what I discover sci-fi to be about. In a genre dancing around technology’s advancement, it is about how all that means nothing next to the person standing next to you. You fight with and for them.
I believe in a omnipotent God outside of time, who lays all of that aside to be human and live next to us on the dusty Earth. He says, “Light shines in the Darkness. Give everything, even if that means your life for the person next to you.” To the point that he did it Himself for us. His relationship with us is paramount. And so He fought for it.
And of course, I like science fiction, because as Walter responds to Peter’s inquiry (Fringe) about a seemingly needless anti-gravity toy, “Because it’s cool, Peter. It’s just cooooolll.”
For such a dinky little cube, it’s amazing what journeys our front loading washing machine takes with every cycle. After adding water and soap, it starts with a typical churn, stop, spin, stop, churn. This is the preparation. Because that little guy is planning on going to the moon. As it really gets into spin mode, it makes a noise like a rocket on its maiden voyage. Starting low, whhiirrrrr, it gradually gets louder and faster and more intense: wwhhiiIIIIIRRRRRRRRRR!! RRRRRR!! RRR!! With every ounce of effort that lavadora is going to launch one day, and take my clothes with it. The machine takes about 2 hours to do a load, (which equals forever in my American estimation) so I think it actually could being going to Saturn and back. I just hope I get a souvenir next time, but perhaps it’s holding out until it gets to Pluto. Goodness knows I mean no disrespect. It’s an enormous step forward having a functioning washing machine in this apartment. And what’s 2 hours, when it can take anywhere from 6 hours to days to dry the clothes depending on the weather. Oh, yes, my clothes hang on a line with clothes pins. How quaint! I laughed to myself the other day when I was walking in blue skies and unseasonable warm weather and my initial thought was, “What a good day to do the laundry.” But the washing machine probably likes having blue skies for its atmospheric ventures, and I don’t have to hang clothes with numb fingers; a win-win by all accounts. Up, up and away.