Eclectic Global Nomad begins her L.A. journey

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Welcome! I am the Eclectic Global Nomad.

I was born in Rangoon, Burma, and lived in Mexico, Colombia, Nigeria, and Switzerland before arriving in California for college. I suffered “reverse” culture shock. I looked like an American, I talked like an American, but I had no idea how to be an American.

The definition of a Global Nomad is someone who grew up in countries other than their passport-country, due to their parents’ jobs. One night while I was living in Moscow, Russia, with my husband and small child, I was cruising the Internet and came across an article written by Norma McCaig about being a Global Nomad. I spent my whole life thinking there was something wrong with me and this article described me in a detail nobody could have known. McCraig felt everything I felt. She had the same experiences I had. I didn’t think there was another person on earth who understood how I felt. It was truly my “ah ha” moment. I finally had a label, I belonged to a club, I was a “global nomad”. Although I was different, I actually belonged to something.

Global Nomads tend to be kind of like chameleons. They can blend into any culture, any background. Some people think they make great diplomats. I don’t think they do. They adapt easily and feel comfortable in pretty much any situation but they are not conformists. Most Global Nomads really want to be self employed and do their own thing. And they are constantly on the move, never feeling at “home” or “settled”.

So, I’m a little different. A little quirky … And I like to write about it. I write about my life across cultures and countries. I write about family, people I have known, history, travel, interesting places, food. Life. I write about life. My life, your life, his life, her life, their life. Everybody has a story to tell.

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Nothing like the Notre Dame Cathedral.

One of my favorite stories takes place in Paris, France. In 1973 I was in boarding school in Switzerland. A friend from my grade school days in Mexico, was living in Paris. I had a long weekend in November and went to visit her. It snowed lightly the whole time I was there. My friend, Lisa, was in school during the day and her mother insisted I take a bus tour to get an overview of the city. It was my first time in Paris  After a half-day tour, I was on my own. I was 16 years old.

There were two things I wanted to see — the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre Museum. I found Notre Dame with no problem. I walked in to an empty building. It was dark and took me a while to get my eyes used to it. It was quiet and peaceful. I made my way down towards the apse and as I reached it, light flooded in. I looked up and saw the most beautiful rosette stained glass windows I had ever seen. I sat down and meditated on them.

From there I headed to the Louvre. It took me a while to find it and the entrance didn’t seem to be very clearly marked but I did manage to buy a ticket and start my tour. I didn’t have much time so I decided to just see three things and then leave.

I found the Winged Victory and the Venus de Milo right away but I could not find the Mona Lisa. I walked up and down an entire wing of paintings. I saw painters with their easels set up copying famous artworks, something I had never seen before in a museum. Lots of great art, but no Mona Lisa.

I wandered into a room that was full of old jewelry. No Mona Lisa there. I was just about to give up and leave when I happened upon a small room off to the side that had a lot of paintings all hung up together on one of the walls. I was looking at these various, random paintings when right in the middle of them, the Mona Lisa jumped out at me. I couldn’t believe it. I stood there transfixed.

It was a magical day. I have been back to Paris many times but Notre Dame has always been very crowded and stifling. The Louvre now has a grand entrance and signs all over the place directing you to the Mona Lisa which has such a big protective case that you can barely see it.

I was very lucky. I am very lucky.

(All photos by Kathy Gamble)