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One of my favorite thinkers and probably had a greater influence on me than I can convey; I was very lucky to come across her. I think I quote her at least weekly, and her work was a source of immense delight for my father, too; we discussed her often. Lovely post!!!

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My name drop of New Orleans was with you in mind !

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🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊

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Jan 16, 2023Liked by Bailey Richardson

This write up / recommendation is well-timed for my current chapter in life. Thank you for sending it!

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Bailey Richardson

My first year after high school was an abrupt change from a small midwestern town to Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Millions of people and a big language and culture gap. Putting down roots was never an optionβ€”I was a perpetual outsider, barely able to scratch the surface. But I did find something that anchored me during that time. Just around the corner from my apartment was a tiny used bookshop stocked with Penguin paperbacks and other forgotten classics. I first read Steinbeck’s β€œIn Dubious Battle” in Brazil, along with dozens of others. Over time, I developed a clumsy (language barrier on my end) connection with the bookstore proprietor and began to feel like I belongedβ€”or at least like less of an interloper. I didn’t put down roots, but I did find fragments of community and a fledgling sense of belonging. It was a start.

In the journey to putting down roots, I think that β€œbelonging” to something in that place is helpful. As an on-ramp. One moves to a new place, unattached and uprooted, but can begin to find footing with a group, club, hobby, faith community.

In this modern age so much of our belonging happens online. The groups we are connected withβ€”based on values, affinities, or shared goalsβ€”are often disconnected from place. It’s easier to log on than to go out. It’s a challenge that requires intentionality to overcome.

There are also microscopic bonds of grounded connection to place and people that can be lost in our current age. Two decades ago, when I was coming of age, the act of buying at the grocery store was accompanied by a necessary verbal exchange with the cashier. We’d make eye contact. Speak to one another. I’d hand him something. He’d hand me things. There’s so much human warmth that can be passed in eye contact, body language, tone. Now I can do it all without a word or a look. In the ordinary workings of life, we now need less from the strangers where we live. They need less from us. It is easier to isolate, insulate, and hide. Expressing need and being vulnerable is a powerful accelerant to connection and community.

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Listening now!

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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Bailey Richardson

Thanks... Nice suggestion!

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Jan 19, 2023Liked by Bailey Richardson

So, I've spent some time listening to the podcast and contemplating what is written here. The idea of feeling rooted when participating in the culture or nation resonates with me on two levels.

I was born in a different country and came to America when I was five with my American father and my Moroccan mother. My father was living abroad for 10+ years and returned home with a wife and 3 children, and I don't think he had an issue repatriating. The American experience was new to my mother in every way imaginable as we settled in a somewhat rural area of Southeastern Washington. Most of my mother's life was rooted in the family instead of the community. The holes were obvious when the children began to leave home...the emptiness must have been brutal for my mother, who was very much an outsider. She died within a short period...clearly with a saddened heart and severed roots.

Ironically, I'm living a similar life. I left San Francisco, my career and my American life about 28 years ago to pursue a life in Switzerland with my now-Swiss wife. The Swiss are notorious for being cold...and unwelcoming to outsiders...which I felt very much like. But...immersing myself in the culture and learning the language helped me create roots in my new home that would grow (perhaps not to the degree I hoped for), but strong roots nonetheless.

The obvious problem - as Matt pointed out in his earlier comment - is continuing to nurture those roots without falling prey to the ease and convenience of my English-speaking social media world...my Americanized Netflix world...even the comfort and convenience of watching a Giants baseball game as if I were still living in the States...

It is indeed easier to isolate, insulate, and hide, which is not a good thing.

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Jan 17, 2023Liked by Bailey Richardson

Beautiful, I hope you have an amazing time in Costa Rica!!! πŸ’–

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thanks for introducing Stephen West, Bailey πŸ™πŸΌ and for tackling the topic of rootedness.

i'm a South African-born, Houston-raised, Californian... who's been living in New York, since 2000. my roots are spread widely and worldly... and my writing is an attempt to nurture these roots and to water "the needs of my soul"... to water the needs of all of us... to connect...

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Obviously the uprooting of cultures and people wrought by colonialism has damage terrible damage. And it is fascinating to see how the French hated when it was done to them vs their doing it to others.

But I do love the -- let's call it cross pollination -- that takes place when cultures have a more gentle meeting. We're currently in South London in Croydon and there are a lot of immigrants to the UK here and I love walking around and seeing the restaurants and stores and so much more that they've brought with them.

Okay, maybe that isn't a good example of cross pollination. LOL. That's more lives being transplanted. But I do think that when that happens successfully it can lead to a better, healthier, and more vibrant garden over all.

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