Monday, November 26, 2007

I've Gotta Do This More Often

Last night I went to see the Harlem Gospel Choir on tour in Cork. Maybe not your usual venue for a gospel concert, but these guys are famous and I was really looking forward to getting a little taste of home. OK, so I don’t go to many gospel concerts at home either, but you get the drift, right? I have to say that it was the best thing I could have done for myself. On the bus trip into town, I pulled up my favorite track on my iPod, U2’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For from Rattle and Hum. It’s my favorite U2 song anyway, but this is my favorite rendition of it, in large part because of the backing gospel vocals (by The New Voices of Freedom, a separate group) which just makes you want to rock! So, there I was, dressed in my brown leather Italian boots (my new favorite) and feeling fine, bopping along to the music piping into my head, and feeling more like myself than I have in a long time.

I didn’t realize just how constrained and small I’ve been feeling lately. It’s only partly being what feels like the only non-African black person in Cork. I’m used to being the odd one out; it’s more general than that. I think being the new person, the foreigner, always feeling a little off balance and on the back foot, and always just a little aware of being in the spotlight (at least it feels that way sometimes), has caused me to become just a little emotionally hunched in all the time. But, listening to that song on my way in made me feel like I was standing tall again, like I was doing something I love and that felt so familiar. For so many reasons. One, I hear so little about U2 here in Ireland, it’s amazing. In the States, it felt like I ran across references to them all the time. Plus, I have to admit that I kept up with the fan sites much more regularly. I had a lot of time at work where I was just so bored, I had to do something else! Two, Ireland is a very white country. No shock there, I know. But, it’s more than the overall paleness of the inhabitants. Again, I’m used to being one of the few non-pale ones in my circle :-) Nobody bops around here, body language is so restrained. At church, we can be singing these great worship songs, but nobody moves! For a people who love music and dance so much, they’re remarkably still. Maybe I’m just used to the way Black-American culture has infused the larger society. But, even in my majority white-American church back home (admittedly getting more and more international all the time), people would be moving to the music.

I’m feeling more and more of the differences, the longer I’m here, and as I get closer to going home for the holidays. They are just differences, there’s no right or wrong, better or worse, I’m just really craving the familiar right now.

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