Three matters after lunch

THURSDAY, 12 AUGUST 2004

(12:32)

* position at my parents’ pottery business

* convoluted explanations of your “situation” when you can’t just say, “I will discuss it with my spouse.”

* Intellectual Enlightenment vs. Community (Taiwan or South Africa)

(Later … ± 16:30)

The vacancy at my parents’ pottery business is Personal Relations, part time. My younger sister then mentioned the reasons why she had resigned from her previous job (also in Bronkhorstspruit), and why she now works at the business. My father mentioned the idea that this should indeed be a family business.

Reckoning that this would be a good time for an alternative point of view, I mentioned that it will not be the same for me as for my younger sister who could just resign, remain in the same house and then simply join the business; that my whole life in Taiwan would have to be broken down piece-by-piece, packed up, and shipped. Friendships I have cultivated in Taiwan will also not stay part of my life in the same way. New relationships will need to be cultivated in a new location to compensate for the social community that I now have in a different place.

I then mentioned that in the ten years it had taken to build up the family business I had taken other measures to provide for my own well-being. These measures cannot just be dismissed overnight because a job position became vacant in the family business.

After a few minutes it dawned on me that there was an unmentioned factor in the whole discussion: the fact that I was alone. If I were married, I would simply have said, “Hmm … nice possibility. I’ll discuss it with Mary.” And that would have been the end of the meeting. But Loner Brand opted for his usual option of long, boring explanations that “everyone already knows”.

I also thought, during the smoke break under the tree shortly after the meeting, that one of the things that make me uncomfortable about leaving Taiwan is the Environment and Daily Routine that are Conducive to a Process of Intellectual Enlightenment. Of course, I could meet someone any time in Taiwan with whom I want to spend more time, and then my Daily Routine would be down the tubes anyways.

I realized that this is an issue of Community (here or in Taiwan) or Intellectual Enlightenment (or at least my view of Intellectual Enlightenment).

Finally, the idea pressed itself on me that my quest for Intellectual Nirvana is not sustainable. I need Community. And if I end up choosing Community above Intellectual Enlightenment, why not in South Africa?

(Did I know a week ago I was going to make these types of observations as soon as the Highveld air hit my nostrils? Yes, I did know matters would necessarily be reconsidered.)

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