Wednesday, October 18, 2006

International


One of the best things about life here in Ibiza is that as a family we get to hang out with so many different nationalities.

Every week I meet with a group of people from Italy, Belgium, Spain, France, Germany and England. We have a great time and I love the whole vibe.

I have Spanish classes 3 times a week with an Israeli, an Italian and 6 Muslim ladies from Morocco and Algeria.

My eldest son Ellis has 14 different nationalities in his school class of 22 people. My youngest Daniel has 9 different nationalities in a class of 20.

We have English, Spanish and Slovakian friends who we hang out with quite a lot.

Increasingly I love the whole European feel to this island and definitely view myself as European as a pose to British. If anyone asks me where I am from I tend to say that I am Irish or from Ireland. (Should I say British from Ulster?)

One friend commented that Ibiza feels like New York without the busy-ness.

Obviously I am an immigrant here so I occasionally wonder how the Ibicencos feel about this large influx of foreigners. The words of Jesus often come back to me “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” How does that reflect with today’s xenophobia about immigration and how should it affect imigration policy?

Another lesson learnt whilst living here is that it is so difficult to assimilate into a culture that is constantly changing and also whose language I don’t understand. It makes me think about church and the struggles we have with engaging in culture and speaking its language.

There are loads of very isolated ex-pat communities throughout Spain they have created England abroad, their own bars, shops, social clubs, sports clubs, housing areas were English is the only spoken language. I knew one person who had lived here 14 years and couldn't speak any Spanish. They didn't need to, they lived in a self contained world, they got all the benefits of living in Spain, the weather, the cheaper cost of living, the laid back lifestyle without ever engaging with Spanish culture.

Occasionally I feel that church is like these little communities, we are busy trying to maintain our identity without engaging with the identity of the surrounding culture. We live in a self contained world that is good and comfortable we get all the benefits of the outside world without having to be part of it.

4 comments:

linda said...

amen brother! whoops

Lisa said...

I've often thought that the church is too isolated - benefiting from culture without ever truly engaging, and then critiquing from the outside. I would hope that this is changing... but I would think that we would have to really want it to change for it work.

Anonymous said...

totally agree you can,t grow as a person or a group unless you are willing to push yourself abit paul x

dave wiggins said...

If you're in America, you're Irish
If you're in Scotland, you're Irish
If you're in Wales, you're lost
If you're in England, you're British
If you're in East Belfast, you're from Ulster
If you're in West Belfast, you're Irish
If you're in Africa, you're american wether you like it or not.