Saturday, December 4, 2010

Did I live in Playa?

What's the difference between living somewhere and visiting somewhere?

I don't think I'd ever considered the question until the other day, when Paige mentioned to Maria and me that she'd lived in Brazil. For whatever reason, this perked up my ears and I asked how long she'd lived there. She said five months. And I wondered aloud, "How do you decide if you've lived some place"?

Maria and Paige seemed to agree that it is the individual who decides if s/he has "lived" somewhere, although having actually rented a place (versus staying in a hotel) and making that your base also seem to be factors.There may also be a presumed minimum duration of stay. Paige suggested that she is living in Playa. After all, she is staying in one place (as in, she has a base) and renting a condo. The fact that it is only for a month is not the determining factor.

On the surface, this may seem like a pretty esoteric question. 

But it's not. It has practical application. For example, don't most of us think and act differently when we live somewhere versus when we visit somewhere? This colors what we see, how we connect with others, what we do every day, how we think about where we are.   

A Thorn Tree thread took up this question recently.

With me being rootless, do I want to think as a resident or as a visitor when I go somewhere new?

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