Monday, June 20, 2011

Musings on "Báiki"

I am someone who has always loved learning other languages and trying to see the world through the eyes of others, through the language and its philosophies itself. I don't want to learn "about" people, places, history, and especially "cultures." I strive to be one who learns "from." I love to hear others' stories and ideas because I love the new wisdom and insight that is shared and, in so many ways, becomes a gift in itself. As something of an energetic and even restless person at times, I love to wander, discovering new streets (physically and philosophically, haha), going where my feet take me, going to unfamiliar places and making myself feel more familiar, and going back to familiar places to make it unfamiliar.

Just a few months ago, I discovered the North Saami word "Báiki," a word that translates into the home that is in one's heart. The ideas in it have been swirling in my head, and I cannot let it go because the concept rings so loudly in what I have long and passionately believed. The Saami people of northern Scandinavia have historically been reindeer herders for the most part, and their livelihoods were made following their reindeer and finding different homes along the way. The importance of feeling at home wherever they went was important, so that the sense of "homelessness" or longing was never too bitter during those long journeys. It is comforting to realize how much the conceptualization of "home" depends so much on one's outlook - "home" can be as wide and vast or as small and intimate as you want it to be. But even at the same time, the Saami people (as have pretty much everyone, in some way shape or form) also knew that no home would be a home without loved ones and a community of family and friends, who would both accompany them in herding the reindeer collectively, or who would meet them along the journey. This is all part of the notion of "Báiki." But then, I am just borrowing the words from others.

So what does this mean? First, it is gems of words like these that reflect why learning other languages and other ways of thinking is so rewarding - the more we delve, the more we uncover, filling in those vast spaces in our knowledge, helping us find solidarity with one another, and perhaps even helping us answer those big "why" questions. It means that it starts with not only celebrating differences between people, cultures, philosophies,geography, or really anything...but it also starts with celebrating those times when we find how much there is to share, to connect with, to have in common, whether that is a belief or simply an experience, a fleeting moment. Wherever I go, even though I do not believe I may ever feel like I fully belong anywhere or that "anywhere" will fully welcome me "home," I nonetheless hope I can live my life in a way that my home will be in my heart, that home will be wherever I find myself, both with the people I am with currently as well as still never separated - either physically emotionally - from all those in my life who I love and cherish. Only time will tell. But that's just some sentimental drivel (yet hopefully food for thought).

On that note, I realize I don't even know Saami. If there is anyone reading this who would like that I not use this as my blog title, or that I am claiming something not rightfully "mine" in the name of some placating universality, then just let me know and I'll get a different blog with a different title running. I just really love this word and thought it was applicable. But I can be irreverent enough (one of the best ways to keep your sanity, I've found) that I feel like it's good to be nice once and a while and acknowledge these kinds of things.