Last May, I did something quite crazy, something not everyone will be able to do, especially with a toddler onboard. I planned a trip, following Google’s advice and my instinct. I looked up “Small villages in Germany” and randomly chose one, then I booked the first house that popped up in my feed, and booked my tickets. Just me and my 3 years old. My desire to immerse myself in nature was growing day by day, and I was daydreaming about a trip where all we can do is contemplate the breathtakingly gorgeous sceneries. It wasn’t really hard to choose a country with the above descriptions; Germany is one of my very favorite countries, The Country of Poets and Thinkers, as it was being called once.
While there, it really seemed like I have left the planet earth and showed up somewhere where social epidemics haven’t yet found place. Somewhere in the state of Bavaria in Germany, a tiny little town, about a handful of houses and a park (of course, parks in this part of the world are more important than anything else!), I am not even sure if I should call where I was, a “little town”, the closest supermarket, shops, or any sign of civilization was 15 km away (which is also a little town called “Schöllkrippen”). Mostly old couples live there, surrounded by all kind of greens, nature and friendly neighbors- sheep, goats, dogs and cats- Few young people too. Since we landed in this forgotten peace of heaven, Adam and I have been experiencing all kinds of human interactions that were not possible elsewhere. When we first arrived we were greeted at every corner, we were offered rides and food, we were treated like part of the family from people whom we have never seen before, from people we don’t even share the same language with! People have showered us with kindness and compassion since the day we stepped foot in there, and I simply wonder how come this only exists there? This has made me think of all the times reckless drivers shouted and raised hands that I could see from my mirror while driving, or those times when neighbors passed by and omitted to say hello, or the times family and friends have failed to show the human side in them, and I ask myself how come? Why we lost that human side in us that made us joyful, peaceful and simple! It also made me think of that specific time in an airport where I was helping a random guy get his luggage from one of those famous airport luggage belts (you know what I mean, those ones where if you don’t get your bag from the first round you start experiencing a mini heart attack, and are bound to wait in queues for hours!!!), and he came shouting, and waving his big bulky hand:” THIS IS MY BAG!”!!!!!! Of course it is yours, idiot, I am just helping you! It made me think of countless encounters I had before of human beings being so far away from humanity, times where kindness has become a distant memory only few of us can remember. The people in this tiny town obviously opted for another philosophy in life, one that was too rare to even be named or studied. One that was the epitome of kindness, compassion and love.
What is it that has spoiled and ruined the human race this much, and left it pretty much inhuman? What is it that makes people kill innocent people, judge them, feel superior to them or even be insensitive to their existence?
If you say technology, it is wrong! Because each one of the people in this little tiny town, has their smart phones, laptops and TVs lined up in front of them (or in their living rooms), so it must be something else.
Whatever their secrete is, it is working! People in that little town are not disconnected from their surroundings even with the existence of phones and TVs. People there crave the social interaction as we- in my part of the world- crave the social media. These people are open and tolerant, they are present and mindful. I find it hard to believe that with the lifestyle we live we are able to find the essence of humanity anywhere. Husbands and wives busy with their phones, kids busy with their electronics and neighbors busy ignoring their neighbors. Somewhere along the journey we have all lost our purity and innocence, even with the best intentions, we are transformed with others’ rudeness and disconnection from whoever we want to be to whatever we are now.
Where I was, no one sits alone in a café, random people show up and ask if they can sit with you! So you don’t have to sit all alone! You will never be or feel alone even though the population of this tinniest city is one tenth of any normal sized city, while in big cities like where I live, you will be sitting in a table with 10 other people you know very well, and you will be hiding behind a screen, you might even not notice if someone leaves or comes! And this is my friends, one of the biggest losses the humanity has ever suffered from!
I am so very thankful and blessed that the universe has sent me to this unbelievably rich little town, to relearn what is the purpose of being human and how to be human in an era of disconnection and impurity.