Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun Nostalgia

©Sophy Laughing, Adare Manor, Ireland

Having lived, worked, and gone to school in a number of countries, I often find myself dealing with transitions from one culture to another. For most people, the key element of this transition is adjustment - adjustment at the individual level. 

Adjustment, for most people, relates to homesickness; without which, there wouldn't be a need for adjustment to the host environment. Separated from the memories, loyalty, and the sense of attachment that arises in our lives, which often times define and shape a person's individuality, it is no surprise that when people leave home they experience a sense of loss...

However, learning new languages, eating new foods, and creating new memories restores our sense of "home" and within time, we adjust, move on, and find "our home away from home."

In this sense, nostalgia, for me, is a fun activity. It's about discovery; discovering what I likewhat I want to try again, and places I want to revisit (either in my mind, by reading and learning more about it, watching a film on it, or sifting through family photos). This for me is nostalgia: a second change to enjoy pleasant experiences, sensations, and moments. 

Nostalgia isn't just a thing of the past. Nostalgia can be like a hopeful daydream, like when you're planning a vacation or eagerly anticipating the litter of puppies your dog is about to bring into the world (our dog is about to have puppies!). In this respect, nostalgia is a mental break from our daily lives, from actions involving or work or interactions with other people (or ourselves, i.e., our mental dialogue of never-ending "To Do" tasks). 

Perhaps this is why nostalgic moments cause us to pause and reflect, to take stock of who we are based on what we know about ourselves and the world. It's about creating and stimulating within ourselves a sense of awareness of our personal history, a way to identify patterns in our lives and search for alternatives or those things we label as "necessities". It's about taking stock...

Today, I decided to take stock of a few of the moments that cause me to pause and reflect on the ever-evolving nature of personal identity... 

Dogsledding in Sweden
RIP Tryggve! 

Ice Follies, Sesame Street, 1979
With Grandma & Mom

Disneyland, 1984

Easter Egg Hunts

Horseback riding
Lake Tahoe

My kids Trick o Treating on Halloween

Jamaica (and yes, that is a fanny with it!) lol 

Sumo Wrestling Match, Tokyo, Japan

My first office in Mexico City
Yes, those are my drums!

Me and my little brother
Who happens to be much taller than me! lol

My son, bodysurfing in Mexico

A photo of me photographing my kids in Paris

Traveling through Switzerland

My niece and daughter trying to hug my son in Mexico

Boating with the kids on Lake Folsom

One of the kids' television appearances

Goofing off with the kids in Switzerland

Safari with my daughter

Hanging out with the kids in Mexico City

My daughter, last week, in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris

My son, last week, in front of the Hôtel de Ville, Paris

Homesickness is a fleeting emotion. Personal identity is shaped by our experiences: yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's... 

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