Continental Breakfast

Over the past week I have shared food with people from all over the world. All of us were attending the International Permaculture Convergence in England. Breakfast company, for example, went as follows:

Day 1: Hong Kong
Day 2: India
Day 3: Australia and Germany
Day 4: South Africa
Day 5: England, Australia, Germany
Day 6; South Africa, Hong Kong

At other meals I ate with folks from Malawi, Zimbabwe, New England, California, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Holland, New Zealand, The United Arab Emirates… and I’m sure many other places that I just can’t bring to mind. Away from the dining table I’ve talked to people from so many other places. I’ve heard ordinary people’s voices, not filtered through the media. I’ve talked to someone who described their experience as a soldier in the East German army in Berlin when the wall came down; I’ve heard what residents of Hong Kong think about China; I’ve discussed apartheid with someone who lived through it in South Africa; I heard the news that Tony Abbott had been ousted from a real-live Australian rather than via the BBC… it has been an interesting week.

Almost everything we know about the wider world is filtered through the media and it is, therefore, an eye-opener to hear about events, lives, politics and anything else from a real person with direct experience. It is simultaneously much gentler (no garish media imagery, just a real voice) and much more shocking….

“What happened to you when the wall came down?”

“They just sent us home… but they took our guns off us first.”

I have never before had the opportunity to interact, face-to-face, with so many people from so many countries. If you ever get the chance to attend such an event, I recommend that you seize it with both hands. I think it’s going to take quite some time to mull over everything I have heard and seen.

There was no shortage of people to talk to

There was no shortage of people to talk to

Oh, and I also met up with many old friends and sold lots of hats…. all round an amazing week. Now please excuse me while I go and lie down for a bit…

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20 Comments

  1. Ann Laken

     /  September 17, 2015

    And hedgehogs. And drank champagne. And..and..and… So fab to see you. 🙂 XXX

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  2. I’m delighted to hear you had such a great time. Glad you’re home safely.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  3. Equality 333

     /  September 17, 2015

    Sounds amazing! Definitely the best way to expand your knowledge not twisted by hidden agendas.

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  4. Yes! I used to attend international conferences and it was there I really learned there is no difference between hearts except culture and politics. Doesn’t it make you realise what a privileged existence we live when you hear snippets of other lives? So glad to hear you made some sales as well!

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  5. Just wondering why Australia and Germany got 2 days? Fair do’s for Germany as it has it’s own cuisine, but we Antipodeans aren’t all that far flung from Auld Blighty and thus by default, we are “you” ;). Before you lay down, have a cup of tea. EVERYTHING is better with tea 🙂

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  6. It just shows that wherever you go, people are just people. Not their labels. Other people have so much to teach if you just put them together in a place of cooperation, learning and goodwill. And hats. Lots of hats.

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    • In the past I’ve met people from all sorts of countries, but never before have I been in one place with so many nationalities. And, you know what? Nobody had a war! We didn’t all agree all of the time, but that was OK and we were able to discuss our differences without coming to blows. I really don’t understand why that can’t be scaled up; after all, as you say, people are people.

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      • I think it’s down to goodwill and a common purpose. If we can only agree that common purpose without the pollies sticking their noses in, humanity could achieve great things.

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  7. I am green with envy. To meet so many people from so many countries at once would be an education in itself. Having traveled (moved) a great deal and met so many nationalities, I’ve learned to overlook the culture and hone in right on a persons heart. Most of the world is filled with wonderful, bright, caring people. Those days are done for me but I am so happy you were able to have such an expanding experience. Each one yields something different. But in the end, there is no place like home and a good rest. Enjoy.

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  8. This sounds great. You’re right; firsthand reports from someone who knows about something are so much better than some skewed news report written to fit an agenda. So glad you sold some of those beautiful hats!!!

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  9. Sharing real experiences with people of different countries over food is amazing.
    You had a great time.
    Also, how did you like the Indian food? 😉

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