Articles

Finding Balance

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Anna McGillicuddy, 129 YinD

I’ve thought a lot about my cultural identity while being here and what it means to be an ambassador of America while trying to understand and become truly immersed in Thai culture. The following is a poem about trying to find that balance as well as remembering that the Thai people with whom we work/live/love are our partners in this journey – that they are also navigating these cultural waters as a result of letting us into their homes & hearts.

Finding balance

Finding balance is a tricky thing
One second you’ve got it
And the next you’re
f
a
l
l
i
n
g

They say ‘be American, be true to yourself
Let them see the real you
Go ahead, add another book to their shelf.
But let us be clear that you must not offend,
Dress appropriately, don’t point your feet
Adapt to their customs, it’s important you blend’

Finding balance is a tricky thing
One second you’ve got it
And the next you’re
f
a
l
l
i
n
g

Pick up your shovel, dig into the dirt
Plant those red, white and blue seeds
But be warned, it might hurt.
They don’t like confrontation, so just let it go
Those emotions you’re feeling?
Oh, no, no, no, no.

Finding balance is a tricky thing
One second you feel like you’ve got it
And the next you’re
f
a
l
l
i
n
g

This cultural tightrope is a source of unrest
That fear of falling
A Peace Corps test.
One year later and I’m starting to jump
Close my eyes and leap
Don’t worry about the bumps.

Finding balance is a tricky thing
One second you’ve got it
And the next you’re
f
a
l
l
i
n
g

I’ve been taking those leaps and to my surprise
My feet land solidly
So I open my eyes.
The tightrope has been replaced by a plank of wood
So I move forward slowly,
Little engine that could.

My balance is still off, I still lose my grip
But that fear of falling
I’ve begun to let slip.  
I take a wrong step, lose my balance once more
And again I fall
Heart plummeting to the floor.

As I find my footing and take a look around
I notice other people dropping
Hand in hand as they, too, hit the ground.
We’re all finding our ways through this cultural unknown
Those bruises and bumps
Are just signs that we’ve grown.

So, why does falling have to seem so bad?
Embrace the uncertainty
Grab the hand of your cultural-tightrope comrade
Because finding balance is a tricky thing
One second we’ve got it
And the next we’re
f
a
l
l
i
n
g


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