Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Being in a foreign country is a lot like becoming a child again, only you get to do it right this time. At first, you feel embarassingly helpless -- unable to talk, you wildly gesticulate whenever you need anything badly enough (to eat, to pee). Everything is curious and interesting -- you find yourself staring, wide-eyed around you, in curious wonder.

As you begin to learn a few words -- "I want" "I like" "please" "yes" etc. -- some things settle into place. People beam brightly and (at least here) congratulate you whenever you use your few words. A lot of things are still scary, but you have a limited amount of comfort, and from there, can make a few, tenative forays into the unknown. It's like (to make a metaphor for the metaphor) climbing under the covers in a cold room in the winter -- after the small space where you are is warm, you start stretching your feet out to the cold spots, making more and more of the bed comfortable.

Maybe you find yourself eating one particular food -- that you know you like -- all the time. You eat it and you eat it. But then, hopefully, you try something new. And you keep trying things, until you have a small range of things that you know you like to eat, here in this strange place. And you learn the names of these things, so you can ask for them.

Soon, you begin wondering "why?" It's a question that is on your mind constantly. Why are there so many street kids? Why do the women wear these crazy boots? Why is that house falling apart, while that house is brand new? Why do Georgians drive so crazily? Why? Why? Why?

This is the stage that we're at now. I still speak poorly enough that I'm complimented incessantly every time I open my mouth. But I've learned enough to be, like a five year old, pretty constant with my questions. Only I'm old enough to keep them to myself. Or to just write them on my blog. Which is awesome.

Plus, I can eat snacks whenever I want. Second childhoods are awesome.

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