I had just flown half way around the world, a grueling 33 hours from Toronto to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, on the Island of Java. I was there on a concert tour / study intensive with the Evergreen Club Gamelan (the ECG).
The ECG is a group of Canadian musicians based out of Toronto. Gamelan is a beautiful collection of bronze pots and gongs, which are native to Indonesia. We were in the motherland.
After checking into our hotel, we made an attempt to socialize, yet our heavy eyelids put a stop to that and it was early bedtimes for all.
Around 4:30 am, I was woken up by the call to prayer as it rang out from a nearby Mosque. I went out on the balcony to listen. This was a first time experience for me. I listened curiously as a magical and mystical voice cut through the still morning air like a citywide alarm clock.
Within the next two days I would visit one of the worlds most famous Buddhist temples - Borobudur, and the largest Hindu temple in South East Asia - Prambanan.
I began to realize that this wonderful exotic place had many things to teach me and that I would never be the same after. I was totally up for it.
The other night I took my kids to a large destination park and I was struck by how many different cultures there were in that one place.
I hadn’t been there for a couple of years and that night I was truly amazed at what an amazing cultural mosaic Canada has become. As I stood there looking at all the different faces around me, it made me realize I don’t know as much about the world (and its people) as I probably should.
I’ve always had a strong interest in the different cultures that inhabit our world (especially their music) but sometimes I have trouble keeping all the details straight.
For example, I sometimes forget what religion is dominant in a certain area of the world, or I can’t recall what might have happened historically in a particular region or what the native language might be. (I knew I shouldn’t have blown off history class in high school).
Why does that matter, you ask?