An Exodus to Return To

27 Sep

Today, as I was leafing through my journal – something I love to do when the book is almost full – I came upon two things I had written some time over the last month, which I want to share with you, because I believe they sum up how we all feel when we’re on the road:

my beauty is in the things I can do

my wealth is in the things I have seen

and when I die

let me die rich in adventures,

with beautiful scenes inside my eyes.

If anyone asks what I did in 2012,

tell them I put treasures in my eyes.

Now I want to squeeze these eyes

and give some of those treasures back.

This is why I’m ecstatic to announce that I’ll be participating in two upcoming performances this October at the ROXY in Ulm:

flyer for the upcoming ROXY event

When I was first contacted by the author & director of this piece, Udo Eberl, I wasn’t sure if I would actually be able to participate, because I wasn’t sure (then) when I would be back in Germany. But when Udo mentioned that the theme was the concept of HOME, I knew this was a project I really didn’t want to miss out on. Over the years, as a third culture kid, the themes of HOME, of CULTURES, of MULTICULTURALISM have been the bone marrow of my work. Be it in Children of Roots, the film workshops Mark & I give at international schools, where our students interview each other on what it’s like to be an “international person”; be it in Qayqa or Munay, my two novels, who narrate the growth of a personal identity, based on Andean shamanism and cosmology; or even in the new Backpacker Poem Project, in which backpackers around the world recite their favourite line from my poem concerning life “on the road” – the concept of home will continue to fascinate me and will continue to dominate my work.

Apart from this, I cannot imagine a more beautiful way to return to Ulm. To be able to get back onstage the minute I return, is an opportunity I am very, very grateful for. I’ve missed reading, missed performing, and consoled myself by making these odd little vlogs – or filming myself reading my short story In the Milk.

The EXODUS programme is currently in planning. The artists are sending emails back and forth. I’m considering what pieces to contribute. It’ll be exciting to meet everyone in person. It’ll be exciting to sit at the rehearsals and watch the evening take shape.

So if you can, COME to the EXODUS. Join us at the ROXY. Let’s meet again – after this extraordinary year we shared on the road. Let’s meet and share some thoughts on the concept of HOME.

This is a perfect way to bring the backpacking chapter to a close.

Speaking about backpacking: yesterday, we met a German couple who are travelling the world by bicycle. They’ve been on the road for over a year now, and have another two years ahead of them. We had an interesting debate concerning bilingualism. The question that arouse was: which languages best suit which purposes? They insisted that speaking about love was easier in a foreign language like Spanish, as the Latin culture (and therefore also language) is more “fluent” in this theme. I thought it was fascinating that they should insist that speaking about something as intimate as love would be best served in a language foreign to them. “Isn’t that a paradox?” I demanded. All three Germans pounced and agreed: “No!” When I disagreed, they decided that my trilingual upbringing made me an exception. Pah.

I maintain it must be character, or even social upbringing. I’d feel very strange expressing my feelings in an utterly foreign language. I’d feel that I didn’t mean it. People who know me, know that when I’m seriously angry or seriously joyful, I switch to English. I find it impossible to swear in any other language, let alone express matters of the heart in, say, Chinese.

which reminds me of a picture I took in Iquitos: our friend Adderli knew how to say all the important things in German & Chinese

I digress. Jan and Karina are travelling the world by bicycle, and keeping a website on top of it. You always hear about people doing these crazy things (usually in a bookstore, where you can tsk-tsk from safety) – so meeting them was very exciting. The website reveals so much more, so if this peaked your interest, check out their adventures here:

“Nie Mehr Radlos” travel route

These last few days in the Americas will be quite busy. I’ve done a lot of writing, and my journal is, without a flinch of doubt, my most valuable possession. Now it’s full, and I realise I’ve been lazy: I haven’t been transcribing. So my remainder days will be all about finding a nice table with a good frozen coffee, and typing everything into Munay.

I’ve got a few more things planned for Germany which I want to discuss with you, ayllu. I love how this blog has enabled a community to form, and I find it deeply important to continue the dialogue we started – hopefully even carry it onto other levels. For the last few weeks, I’ve been planning a book tour for Qayqa, and now that the planning is taking on a more solid shape, I’m ready to blog about it. In fact, I want to plan it with you; let you have a strong say in where I’ll tour, and when. But that will demand a longer post, so I leave you for tonight and retire to my dormitory bed.

In case you’ve been wondering: a while back, I was thinking about how to greet audiences. It’s important to say “Hello” before beginning your performance, to have some form of introduction instead of mysteriously boarding the stage and beginning. I was trying to come up with something special, something unique – and I remembered a sensitive and strong Quechua word: ayllu. It means “spiritual family”.

That’s how I feel after a reading, when people come up to me to tell me their thoughts and feelings during Qayqa. That’s how your participation in the Backpacker Poem Project felt. That’s how this blog has begun to feel. Very sweet. Very sweet indeed.




2 Responses to “An Exodus to Return To”

  1. Gerhard September 28, 2012 at 1:36 am #

    What a wonderful poem framed with two beautiful pictures. You must feel totally free and relaxed and at the same time excited to share your richness with others. It is admirable that you measure the value of your possession in your heart and what you experienced with people while you are on your journey. This is so much different to most other people. The reward is that this kind of richness will sustain forever like an unfailing source. It makes you become a person to give warmth without light a fire, donate without giving money and where people follow you without going ahead. Gerhard

  2. Cris van Eijk October 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    A few things.

    2) I was looking for the words “spoken word” today, and came out with ‘slam poetry’. Derrr I feel smart.
    3) If this book tour does come to Eindhoven at any point, I will have to make sure I read something beforehand. It’s so frustrating and difficult explaining your work to someone who knows nothing about it.
    4) Screw that – even if the tour goes nowhere near, I will have to make sure I read something of yours. 😀

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