“All I know is that I know nothing.”
Truer words were never spoken, than those of Socrates, the ancient philosopher, I’ve concluded after being in Greece for three weeks. Our time here has spanned both an old and new year – the time it seems that people get introspective and think deeper, philosophical thoughts. I have been thinking with such introspection it seemed the best way to tell you about them was with some ‘trash talk’: garbage collection, quite literally.
Maybe it is the atmosphere or something in the water, but we’ve become a bit philosophical after spending time in Greece.
On this visit, we’ve cut ourselves off from television and have significantly reduced computer time, mainly because the house doesn’t have either. We’ve tapped into another’s w-ifi (with his permission) and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
We’ve spent a lot of time outdoors – working with our hands and thinking with our heads; not relying on a Google search for a definition to answer questions. Our time and our ‘being’ has allowed for pondering. A gift of time in a manner of thinking. (When’s the last time you gave yourself unlimited time to just ‘pondered’ something?)
Back in the Northwest I’ve been involved with an organization that is focused on developing cultural competencies. I’ve thought a great deal about that concept as I have thought about our garbage and yes garbage and cultural competencies do go hand-in-hand for the purpose of this writing:
During one of our first visits to this area - the southern Peloponnese region of Greece - I had exclaimed in what I call ‘ignorant tourist’ disgust, “OMG! Those people are throwing their garbage in the public bins!”
Two years later we bought a house here:
|The Scout on a garbage run|
We have become “those people” who at first impression left me so aghast. In fact, I chuckled at my change in this particular activity when on New Year’s Day The Scout asked, “Shall we take a garbage run and check out what’s happening in the village?” Would this be trash talkin’ or trash travel? It certainly is a step towards making me a bit more culturally competent and less quick to judge.
|The road to our house - a road that connects two villages|
And as I’ve had time to ponder the concept, it does make perfect sense. The roads here –like this one in the photo that leads to our house – in many cases are small. Not so very long ago they were dirt tracks through olive groves. Ours, a bumpy little asphalted ribbon up the hill connects two villages, but certainly is not a road that could accommodate a garbage truck!
Trash bins – and they include recycle bins as well – are located throughout the towns, on larger roads and along the highway, which in this area is a two-lane road.
My list of logical but distinctly different cultural nuances doesn’t stop with garbage collection, it continues to grow with each passing day.
For example: collecting used toilet paper in a trash can aside the toilet and not the throne itself with its small plumbing pipes, makes perfect sense as it would plug them and fill the septic tanks); or heating water as needed when the solar power isn’t enough to do so. It is a matter of flipping a switch to heat water and then turning it off after a period of time to cut the electric use and bill. . .
Different countries, different cultures, and different ways of doing things. When it comes to travel it is good to remember the words of Socrates – All I know is that I know nothing -- before making those quick cultural judgments.
How about you? What have you concluded about people and places before knowing their full story. . .the one that explains actions and behaviors?
We do wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you’ll spend time exploring the world with us in 2015! See you soon~
Hopefully I am linking up today with Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.