Culture shoc

We heard so much about it – yet it all comes down to the straw.
And the people you love.

I really love this poem, Hermann Hesse wrote 1941 and think it’s still worth considering although it has whiskers. It is neither a travel nor a cultural poem. He wrote it after a longterm disease, reconciling thoughts about death and life.

Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend                                   As every blossom fades
dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe,                            and all youth sinks into old age,
blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend                           so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern.                              attains its prime and cannot last forever.
Es muss das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe,                              At life’s each call the heart must be prepared
bereit zu Abschied sein und Neubeginne,                             to take its leave and to commence afresh.
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern                              courageously and with no hint of grief
in andre neue Bindungen zu geben                                       submit itself to other newer ties
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne,                           A magic dwells in each beginning,
der uns beschützt und der uns hilft zu leben.                      protecting us, telling us how to live.

When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I was prepared for the ultimate shock that would strike me at one point in the next months. And with Hesse I was counting on the magic that would help me endure it. But there’s more to that subject than mere (always helpful and great) poetry: Science! As I studied the phases you go through, (predicted by scientists of I don’t know what subject – travel-psychology supposedly) I found different models that are of course all kind of idealtypes and are to be individually adapted but that now in hindsight offer the possibility for interesting thoughts.

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