Photo on the preview: Vera Nicolopoulos. Follow her on instagram sovsem_poneslo
This is the Side B of my mix tape, for the Side A, click here:
Some time ago, I have decided to make a digital mix tape of all the songs that have been accompanying me through the life as expatriate, culture shock, cultural adjustment and…love. Music has always been an important part of my life and my perception of things is greatly influenced by melody. Whereas this mix tape is personal, it reflects issues that many of us may have encountered while living abroad or just trying to make a transition from adolescence to adulthood. I am hoping that this post will remind you how similar we all are in our worries, desires and thoughts so…live this life and enjoy the music!
Aside from its Biblical name, this song has a pleasurably lulling sound. I would listen to it during many moments of solitude, or when I needed to stop for a moment and contemplate my surroundings. When you reside outside of your home country, everything is new, and you pay attention to small details that otherwise, you would not have noticed. Buses are exciting, streets are spectacular, as for flora…for a northern girl like myself seeing palm trees and flowers blossom in February had been a sublime experience for the first half a year of my stay.
Regarding the name “This Too Shall Pass”, how many times would I tell myself these important for words!
First year of difficulty talking to in a foreign language – this too shall pass. I will be able to converse coherently and delightfully in no time!
Struggling to find myself around the city and figure out which bus goes where – this too shall pass. It is just a temporary inconvenience.
Homesick. Missing winter and downtown area with colorful shops and restaurants with intimately dimmed lights. And this chestnut tree still stands in front of my eyes… Why the hell is this tree?! The airport seems like one of the most comforting places to be – this too shall pass! Don’t worry; you will always remember who you are despite the setting being different.
Still thinking about him – this too shall pass. This too shall pass…..this too shall pass.
This song was with me when I took walks and saw families being together, or when I saw windows lighten up on the background of a dusking sky. It was persistently associated with the idea of home that I maybe have lost or not yet acquired. When you live away from your familiar surroundings and culture for quite some time, there is always a moment when you feel detached from your past and some of your habits, albeit not yet fully warmed up to the new place. You want a place you came from because everybody needs something to get back to, you need the sense of belonging. At some point, you start questioning whether or not the decision to move so far away was right because you still have such a long trail to walk till you assimilate.
Interestingly, when I listen to this song, I don’t perceive it from s position of the narrator, but from a place of the girl. Some years ago I would ask myself rhetorically: “Would he care if he knew I remembered him?”
The lyrics of this song speak for themselves, the song is about a couple who is struggling to find their place in life. Both of them come from low-income families, and they don’t have any means to start. The song’s allegoric inclination makes turns their story into a romantic plot making their situation more dignified and even inspirational. I didn’t come from a background that would oblige me to work for food from a young age or anything, but after I moved across the ocean, I suddenly had to start over. Your friends, your culture even your education…all these things were no longer relevant. In Israel, it is surprisingly easy to find a proper job without a degree as far as a potential employee’s Hebrew or Arabic is fluent which makes it many times harder for foreigners to join the workforce.So while adjusting, tailoring myself to this epic environment, I was driving a fast car.
Life is indefinite right now. Especially after surviving 2016, I think it is fair to say that from this point, nothing is predictable or logical. In this case, what is the point of meticulous deliberations and planning? Yes, it is important to be considerate in terms of our long-term goals, but no-one is asking us to be overly serious in our day-to-day life. I want to try to do my best at everything I attempt to work hard, but I still want to follow my intuition and keep my spirits young. Our fear of uncertainty stops us from enjoying the best things in life. It is important to remember that we are not immune to any disasters or illnesses if we just sit indoors and don’t get ourselves out there.
To conclude this thought:
One day couple of years ago, I was in the Negev desert watching the sunset. The desert is mostly rocks and occasional sand dunes. You rarely see any trees there, and it looks like that the soil’s garments have been scratched off leaving it naked. With its peculiar charm, it is probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Only in the desert, you get to see the sky full of stars. It feels almost painfully free to stand there at night listening to the wind, but it also has its hazards. For example, scorpions that come out at night. Scorpions are scary, and their bites are poisonous, but if I paid scrupulous attention to the dangers I may have to encounter, I would have never been able to enjoy watching the sunset so much. It was so spectacular that I still remember how it looked like, and it brings a warm feeling to my heart every time I think about it. The sketch above demonstrates a simple example of the truth about life: if we succumb to our fear of the unknown, we inevitably deprive ourselves of the beauty of life. If we let ourselves be free every once in a while despite all the “But’s, we add up to our personal growth.