Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Listen Before Speaking.

It seems like a million years since I last wrote a blog or was able to make comment on one of the blogs of friends. I am just home from Spain, where I had a marvellous holiday. My holiday could be summed up very much in the words of the security guard of the caravan park I was staying on. Every morning as I ran through the gate, as I headed out for my morning run, he would look at his watch, and on my run return tell me the time I had been gone.  The same happened in the afternoon when I headed off with my walking pole. After the first week of my holiday he said, “Never do I see anybody who all day every day is making exercise.” I could not help but smile.

One of the marvellous things about staying in another country is meeting people who look at life so different from ourselves. The language is not the only thing that makes life different. The Spanish have a large lunch, then late at night, and I mean late, ten o’clock, they will have the main meal of the day. The whole family gather round the table and this late night meal becomes an event. 

On my first year visiting I found this difficult. I wanted to be asleep at ten o’clock, not listening to chatter I could not understand. Now after years of visiting I accept this is the way things are and I try my best to join in and be part of it.

This brings other advantages, the people of the area warm to those who try to fit in with the culture. Over the years I have made many knew friends. What a joy to see them each year, even if we are not always on the same page when we communicate. The many misunderstandings only lead to more laughter.

I painted three works. Two fairly fast paintings of the sea and rocks, and an abstract inspired by the restful things I do on holiday. More of that you can see on my other blog.

The two sea painting I actually liked on first sight, on reflection they have found their way into my bin. The more I looked at them the more I saw they had no soul.

The abstract, I did not like on completion, but it has developed and grown on me, and my family like it. I have shared it here and talked about it on my other blog. You will either like it or hate it.

Let me end today with a thought. Thinking of speaking to people in a language you do not really know brings its problems and takes much concentration and thought. Listening to what is being said is crucial, then that is also the case when you do know the language, maybe more so.

Think of this little story.

The newlywed wife said to her husband when he returned from work, “I have great news for you. Pretty soon, we’re going to be three in this house instead of two.”
Her husband ran to her with a smile on his face and delight in his eyes.
He was glowing of happiness and kissing his wife when she said, “I’m glad that you feel this way since tomorrow morning, my mother moves in with us.”

This blog is linked to my other.  Crosswords


  1. We need to learn to listen with our mind and heart; not just our ears.

  2. Ralph, it is great to have you back! I'm glad you had a great vacation, could continue the running thing and find time to paint. I can't get past the "security guard" to your blog!
    What a sad state of affairs that such a thing is necessary while camping! It reminds me of being on one of those "wildlife safaris" where you have to stay in your car, impossible to determine who is in the cage!

  3. I wondered where you'd gotten to, Ralph. Love this piece of art and I agree with your thoughts on travel in other countries. I appreciate every place I've been for its beauty and uniqueness.

  4. Welcome back, Ralph. I too really enjoy being in a different culture. It helps me see things differently and often I like that better. I like connecting with the people and not just seeing it through a visitors point of view. To me, that is magical! I like your painting.

  5. Hey Ralph...welcome back. I enjoyed your post and your painting. Funny how we can change our minds about how we feel about our own painting. Sometimes I want to throw every painting I ever did in the trash bin and other times I see the value in all of them. Glad you are back from vacation..thanks for the insightful story!

  6. Welcome back to blogville Ralph, so glad you had a wonderful time... Memories stay with us forever.

  7. It's so nice to see your blog post this morning! I've been wondering if you were ever coming back to us! Spain sounds like a beautiful place. But that ten o'clock dinner would be a very hard adjustment, I think. I like your thoughts about the importance of really listening and appreciating what somebody else is trying to say. (I bet the sea paintings were beautiful, do you still have pictures of them?)

  8. Enjoyed your story a lot. Twenty + years ago, I live in Japan for 2 years. Oh, the misunderstandings were plentiful and we got many a headache trying to get thoughts across. Without our dictionaries one day, it took 2 hours to get the word "tetanus" across but we finally did. That's when we all laughed at the headache it truly caused for all of us.

  9. Most of the time, it is a great experience to spend time with people of a different culture, perceptions are totally different! I loved this abstract textured piece you have created!

  10. nice painting..glad you enjoyed your holiday.