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What is Not Quite Right?

Not Quite Right:  It’s that feeling, at odd moments when traveling or living abroad — say, for instance, watching a man on a desert road carry a cardboard box on his head, sloshing full of water and fish — when you just have to look twice, reconfirm the presence of fish, and prove to yourself you weren’t just imagining.

Fishermen in the inner harbor, Sur, Oman.

The funny thing is, often this idea works both ways.

After a moment you might say:  “Hmmm, fish in a box . . . why not?”

And then you might say:  “You know, a couple years ago when I tried to carry that slippery critter back from the boatdock with my bare hands . . . maybe a cardboard box wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.”

And, even later, you might come full circle, saying something like: “Why, when there are so many perfectly good cardboard boxes in the world, do fishermen bother with ice coolers?”

I think such moments are important, cutting both directions.  It’s needed in our world now, little instances, accumulations of detail to show us we are all interlinked and that our different ways of being, though different, aren’t necessarily better or worse.  Traveling for the last year, I’ve experienced this not quite right moment almost daily.  This blog is my attempt to share not only the specific  observations I’ve accumulated but also the sense of how life abroad, and really seeing, can change perceptions.

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