Peering over my right shoulder, at a crowded traffic stop , I see a Balinese women sitting on her bike. At first glance, there appears to be nothing distinct about her. She wears a black helmet, a mask covers her airways, headphones are lodged in her ears, and aviator sunglasses to complete the aesthetic. Of course I do not and probably never will know her.
Yet, I know her. Better yet, I can feel what she's experiencing. She is bobbing her head, chaotically back and forth, and strumming her fingers, in what seems to be an arbitrary pattern on the odometer below her. I know those movements. I know that feeling. I feel it on a daily basis.
It's what I describe simply as - moving to the music. You let the music take over and in turn your body responds with movement. There is no logic, and not always a pattern to it, its a disarray of movement which somehow manages to contains rhythm. There is no notions of where it is going or how it should go. It's simply a physical response to a feeling which sound provokes.
I find a sense of familiarity amongst the locals. Of course it's not shared in our upbringing, an upbringing that has now made me feel very fortunate to say I'm from America. But there is still a connection there, it's a connection based on experience and feelings, a connection that transcends our backgrounds.
I know that smile when greeting a friend. I know the head bobbing to your favorite jam. I know that disconcerted look a child is given by his parents, as I've received this look from my parents one too many times ( it was only until recently I understood it's a look rooted in love and caring concern. I can only imagine how many of those I'd be getting abroad ). I know the look of boredom, and absent minded day dreaming, a business owner experiences during a slow day. And I know the look of sadness which accompanies a goodbye.
We all know what life feels like. The ups and downs, the joys and stressors. And it's incredible to feel that connection amongst people which on the surface seem so distant and estranged from us. For me, it gives me that feeling of home. Even at times where home feels years away.