Saturday, September 22, 2007

Freedom To Be

I was familiar with Rita Golden Gelmen's name because More Spaghetti, I Say ! used to be J's very favorite book a couple of years ago. Recently I read her book Tales of a Female Nomad which is not a children's book. I liked it for a variety of reasons. It is a story about a woman coming out of the relatively secure cocoon of a long marriage unprepared for the solo life.

It is of course a fascinating travelogue written from the point of view of someone who wishes to immerse herself in different cultures, participate in the lives of strangers but not judge them; a journey of self-discovery that was prompted by difficult personal circumstances. As a woman, a single mother and an immigrant I found it easy to relate to all the themes that come across in this book. Needless to say it feeds my unsatiated wanderlust.

She says at the end of chapter three : And while I was in Mexico, I discovered something intriguing. Once I leave the U.S., I am not bound by the rules of my culture. And when I am a foreigner in another country, I am exempt from the local rules. This extraordinary situation means that there are no rules in my life. I am free to live by the standards and ideals and rules I create for myself.

That is exactly how I feel being by myself in a foreign country free from the social constraints my own home and culture would have imposed on me. I am at liberty to reject the mores of my native and domicile cultures and live by rules that might be considered odd by both. It is an exhilarating feeling and well worth the pain that such journeys tend to be.

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