”If you destroy the entire generation of people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed.’’ The Monuments Men (trailer)
We skipped yoga the other night and went to see the movie The Monuments Men. That quote from George Clooney has been taking up space in my head ever since. Not that I mind having Clooney in my head but what was it that grabbed me?
It has something to do with belonging.
How much culture do we lose when we leave our homelands? What happens when we keep moving to new countries? Even if the cultures of these countries are vaguely similar, as in my case, I feel I’m missing something.
People see me as someone who has immigrated to Australia. They do not see the bits of French culture that stuck to me when I left. They don’t see my time in London, or the way these cultures have become, unconsciously, part of who I am. They don’t see my Polish and Ukrainian and Scottish heritage. They don’t know who I was before I landed in this country. They don’t know my history, my own personal culture.
This is the price you pay for my particular brand of wanderlust.
Maybe some people don’t want to know what it was like to live in Paris, married to a Frenchman, the smell of baking baguettes from the boulangerie below our apartment waking me slowly at dawn. Maybe they’re not interested in my weekends climbing in the soft rains of the peak district or walking in the Scottish highlands.
Or maybe they are and I just need to share it?
Maybe it would help me if I looked back into my own roots and brought them closer to the surface of who I am. Maybe remembering more about my past cultures, and celebrating them more on a daily basis, will help me feel like I belong.