When I held Anja’s hand to help her practice her baby steps, my mind wandered briefly to think of how I needed all the help I could get to move along in my PhD journey, and overall life here in Norway. The help came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, genres and content, human and not-so human (e.g. Books).
In many ways, from the moment I landed till now, there have been so many occasions where I felt like a baby. I joked with my Norwegian colleagues how I was ‘born again’ when I finally got my ‘personal number’. Other times, it was obvious when I couldn’t communicate to a bus driver about the tickets, or when someone asks me a question when I’m walking to town. So that’s how Anja feels when she’s trying to ‘talk’ to us!
I think it’s only after one year, that we’ve really managed to take some baby steps a little bit more, but still we get lots of help. we can’t run yet, but as a family we are making progress.
Perhaps, the greatest challenge or feeling of insecurity was felt when we found out we had to ‘move’ out of our previous apartment at very short notice. It’s a long story but one thing occupied my mind, the importance of a roof over our head. The concept of ‘home’ came alive in a very ‘material’ way. The wrestling of inner thoughts in parallel with searching for practical solutions deepened my appreciation of how we theorizing in the face of the empirical experiences and reality. I could sit down and ‘ideally’ ponder on the idea of ‘home’ and it’s related concepts like security, relationships, rest, and so forth. But the urgency, the complexity, the ‘feel’ of the whole reflection process is by nature simply different compared to sitting at a coffee bar talking about the ‘homeless’.
Of course, we don’t have to experience precisely being ‘homeless’ to think about it. I recall some ‘interrupting’ moments after numerous visits and conversations with refugees in Malaysia, and digging deeper back into my childhood, memory fragments of insights from the Vietnamese became a reservoir to draw from. Our former neighbor here in Norway opened my horizon on the challenges coming from an Ethiopian experience.
I still stand by a motto I’ve used for some years, “jump first, fear later”. But that’s not the whole picture, often we “crash first, think later”. The first puts the weight on the jumper, the second places the light on what’s external and beyond our control. It’s not uncommon that the ‘crash, is the result of other people’s actions.
it’s nice to do this mini comeback random thoughts post. It started random, but landed with thoughts via themes that weren’t so random: baby steps – progression, home – security, reflection – the relationship between thinking and experience.