I went to an international evening of poetry at the local library this evening. They had four translators there, the host, the girlfriend of one of the translators...and me. I was the only real audience member. It was kind of unique.
It's gotta be really hard to translate poetry. You have to put it in language an English-speaker can understand, keep rhythm and rhyme as much as possible, and keep it still beautiful, hopefully as the original author intended. It means a very keen grasp of both English and the original language. Tonight they shared poems from Sweden (including a woman who was part of a anarchist surrealism group but got kicked out because she started producing art in the form of poetry), Spain (excerpts from a very long metered play from the 1600's), Iran (all diaspora), and China (including some interesting early Ho Chi Min work). Turns out Chinese poetry can be quite complex. Rhyming is easy, as there are half as many sounds in Chinese than English. But in classical Chinese poetry tones on successive lines should be opposite, but meanings concordant. (If I remember that right.)
After they thanked the audience for attending, I got to thinking. Yesterday someone got really angry with me because I suggested that a teacher invite their students over to the teacher's house. Evidently that's not done anymore in America, and I wasn't aware, or forgot. Lot's of things that I can't remember, or have forgotten. There were some women where I used to work in Morocco who would have a list displayed in their home of what they liked about Morocco, often things that were better there than here. It helped them appreciate where they were and not experience as much culture shock stress. I think I need to do the same thing with America. Not that Morocco is bad. Rather the opposite. If I'm going to be here for awhile, I need to see the good points of America, 'cause it's hard not to pine. So...
- Poetry Readings are more accessible
- Libraries are everywhere and thus you can read lots and lots of books
- Easy to see the latest movies
- Keeping up with favorite TV shows like Lost, the Office, and Smallville
- Easy to catch up on shows I missed, like the last season of West Wing
- More diversity in food choices ethnically (like good Lebanese food)
- Easier to get archery training
- Greater diversity in theological viewpoints
- Easier to keep up with politics and the coming election
- Burger King, Subway, & Taco Hell everywhere (though not necessarily a good thing stroke-wise)
- Lots of green and parks (at least here in the NW)
- Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, and Diet Berries & Cream Dr. Pepper
- Greater diversity in political viewpoints
- Regular Open Worship
- Fewer cultural restrictions on female relationships
- Good spiritual encouragement in Grace from my Meeting
- Salsa lessons freely available
- Easier to find decent dance clubs without as much harassement
I think I'm out. You wanna help me? It's okay, we don't have to agree on the item. But can you think of any other ways living in America is better than Morocco? I need some encouragement.