Is it sad that a box of tea is a symbol of me??
This morning as I used the last tea bag from box 1 of my Joko tea which accompanied me to New York, I realised with a shock that 100 cups of tea is surely a marker of a substantial passage of time!
I have travelled many miles and crossed many time zones to reflect and write about District Six. It’s been interesting to do some from this distance, given that our back-home strengths are to be found in an embodied practice typified by presence and the interactvity of human engagement. But, it is a wonderful opportunity to do so, coming at the right moment when chronos met kairos in my own and the Museum’s life: in a moment when I realise that even good things can become all-consuming and you need something external to get the balance back. And do something useful in the process.
For a long while now my colleagues and I have been lamenting about our inability to free up research and writing time. I have found my moment, and hope that I can support the rest of the team to find theirs.
I committed to writing regular blogs; to edit documents which had been in the editing queue for ever so long; to complete all those half thought-through thoughts and flesh out the contents of the many opening paragraphs that I have written and which await completion.
One box of Joko tea later, I fear that I have done the opposite and have doubled the number of opening paragraphs, and have not written any blogs except this ‘not-a-blog’ one.
In my defence… what can I say except that I am slowly working my way down my tick-list. New York in general and Columbia in particular has so much to offer that it would be short-sighted not to make the best use of it all. The support from the AHDA (Alliance for Historical Accountability and Dialogue) team has been great; my fellow fellows from Italy, Bulgaria, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Serbia, Kashmir, Bosnia, USA, Russia and Argentina are wonderful co-travellers on this journey on which we are challenging and puzzling each other but also contributing towards many moments of clarity and discovery.
It’s taken me a little while but I am equipped with the tools that I need to navigate my way through the programme and through the streets of New York: a Metro card and subway app; an understanding of ‘uptown’ and ‘downtown’ (still working on the N, S, E and W); a three-hole punch; a crash course in Google Drives, Hangouts, Calendars and all related accoutrements; wonderful library resources (24 hour access!) and a realisation that even though time has taken on a different quality in my temporary life, a day still only has 24 hours. Enough said.
As I open my second box of Joko tea, I will sit down to complete some of the old thoughts while I put a moratorium on any new ones. And if you hear rumours that I have been seen at Amateur Night at the Appollo, or watching the Mets playing baseball, or hanging out in Times Square, you will know thes to be untrue because I will be ‘home’ sipping tea and writing!