Monday, February 3, 2014



      Picture this. You are standing in a crowded airport, or perhaps on the street or you're sitting in a restaurant, or standing in a hotel lobby. All around you there are families--wives, husbands, sons & daughters--dressed in a host of different colors, some with headscarves, some without, some in long flowing dresses, some in shorts. Skin color varies from white (you) to darker and not-so-dark. The eyes vary from Western to Oriental. The hair color is uniformly black or brown. The men often have heavy black beards, while other men appear simply to have decided this is the week they won't shave. And, not a single person is speaking English. None, zero, nada, nothing. The airport board reads like a geography lesson--the one you skipped in High School.

     A bit disconcerting? Answer honestly. It's not just disconcerting, it is a bit terrifying. You are alone in a crowd.
     At some point in our journey this repeated setting became commonplace. In fact, it has become exhilarating. It's life in the "real" world... and while we sometimes feel it perhaps on the street in LA or South Phoenix if we do not speak Spanish, it's not the same as being in a foreign land. No recognizable street sign, no one or thing in sight that is recognizable. Sink or swim on your own; there is no life preserver at hand.
    I know the reason many people find the thought of travel to the locales of this Troupi' adventure terrifying. It would take them far outside their comfort zone (and I will admit to that marvelously exhilarating terror on occasion, as well), and it certainly has done that for us. It's not a slog so much as a jaunt. A happy gait, enjoying the people even as we do not understand a word they are saying.
    Which brings me to the real point I hoped to make, and that is the universal nature of kids. Wherever we have gone, there have been children. Playing, laughing, crying, shouting, pushing, pulling, jumping. Holding on to their parents, cradled in a parents arms, running away from their mom and dad, beating up on their brothers and sisters--you name it, we've seen it.  And for that there is no need of language. It's such a great joy just to see such marvelous humanity--everywhere.

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