The Itch I Couldn’t Reach

subtle shift

Something strange happened on our trip to Peru.  Like an itch you can’t quite reach or the name just out of reach of conscious memory, I couldn’t figure it out.

On our first layover after leaving Chicago, the plane bumped onto the runway in San Salvador.  I looked out of the window and saw palm trees.  I felt something I couldn’t identify: just a twinge;  a small whisper.

After puzzling about it for days, I figured it out: there was a subtle shift in my spirit and my international alter ego awoke.

I know there are palm trees in Florida.  I know there are palm trees in California.  (We lived in Southern California as newlyweds, but in a Hispanic neighborhood– so almost international.)

But, something about seeing those palm trees connected with the memories of living in the Philippines as a teenager and the memories of living in Mexico as an adult.

Something about seeing those palm trees said, “We’re not in Indiana any more.”  Time to shift to your Latin personality.  (Which isn’t necessarily the best version of myself, I might add.)

I have trouble expressing myself in Spanish.  To be embarrassingly frank, I have trouble expressing myself verbally in any language.  (Okay, in English.  It’s not like I speak a lot of languages.)

Did you know your personality changes in another culture?  Okay, all your basic tendencies remain the same.  But, a different environment will bring out or suppress some of the ways you are naturally wired.  This has been a slow realization.  But, being a Psych geek, it’s one that fascinates me.

Anyway, ever since that experience of looking out of the plane window in San Salvador, I’ve been trying to figure out why I had that strange twinge in my soul.  Mystery solved.  Elementary, my dear Watson.

What’s your latest light bulb moment about yourself?







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