Since early childhood, I have had double vision. Each eye focuses just a little differently from the other, so I have two built-in views of everything. There is always the other eye to suggest there might be another way of looking at things.
It might be one reason why I have found other points of view and cultures so fascinating. When I was six, my father told me some people in China ate bird nests, and I immediately wanted to go there. Not that I was searching for an alternative culinary experience, but I wanted to meet the people who seemed so different.
By the time I was seven, I’d decided how I was going to escape from the farm in Ohio where I was born and go to live in New York City where people were unconventional and came from all over the world. At eighteen, I did go to New York, but it was to join Maryknoll, a group of American Catholic missionary nuns who worked primarily in underdeveloped countries. After nine years, I realized I was too independent to be a nun. I left the convent and returned to New York City where I earned a Ph.D, became a cognitive psychologist, and married Peter, an English academic born in Yorkshire.
I never did go to China, but one might think I’d had enough cultural adaptation for a lifetime. Not only does Peter look at the world from the sometimes inscrutable perspective of a man, he looks at it from the perspective of an English man. We lived in New York for twenty years where we were both university professors, and where I reached the erroneous conclusion that I understood people better than he did. Then we moved to Spain where Peter understood the English expatriate community with significantly greater accuracy than I did, but where I read Spain with the insights of my Catholic upbringing.
We returned to Yorkshire to care for Peter’s parents, then moved to the Lake District. That was when I discovered I really didn’t understand the English. I’ve been married to an English person for some 35 years, and I’m still surprised. I’m even surprised when I’m surprised, which happens on a regular basis.
Today, my husband Peter and I are both retired academics and are living in a little village five minutes outside Cambridge, England and an hour out of London. As an American it feels culturally akin to living with the way my eyes work. Looking at things as an American, they are in a slightly different focus than the view seen from the English perspective.
Since coming here, I wrote my latest book, The Big Bang to Now, which is a brief look at all of time. It’s written for the reader who wants, as I did, to learn the difference between 100 thousand, 50 million, and 13 billion years. It’s available on Amazon.com. My “serious blog,” http://www.TheBigBangtoNow.wordpress.com keeps the logical part of my brain working.
This blog, on the other hand, is a possibly fuzzier look at the world through my double vision. It’s not always logical. But it’s mostly how I think when I’m not being strictly rational and organized. In other words, “the other I.”