The last few days have been filled with intense learning. For the duration of the German Transactional Analysis congress, I’m staying in Lindau, a charming little island of 0,68 square kilometer. While I don’t know all the streets, there is this strange safety of knowing that I can’t get lost and the ease of knowing that everything is close by. Living in such a place transforms the idea of space and distances.
On the other hand, Lindau is located on Lake Constance. It is a four-country area: Germany, Switzerland, and Austria surround the lake and Lichtenstein is close by. This multicultural environment creates flexibility. Instead of expecting everyone to be coming from the same country, there was a natural adaptation into being curious about everyone’s origins. Meeting participants here reminds to be aware of an open and large horizon of diversity.
After today’s last workshop someone somewhat familiar came up to me asking me for my name. She wasn’t sure if I was the person she knew as neither she nor I would have expected to meet each other here. We knew each other through our computer sciences study at a university a few hours away from here. Meeting her unexpectedly transformed my expected time horizon of meeting with people I had met a few months ago to someone I had not seen for 20 years.
The episode she remembered most from that period was one where I had to assist her to cross the border. That was at a time when we still had border controls between Germany and France. During the evening her partner, as Scotsman, joined. We switched from German to English and had a fascinating exchange about some of the most impacting events of the 20th century. The wars basically had continued to disconnect Europeans. At the same time, they allowed establishing long-lasting connections. Some of the prisoners of war who had been located to Scotland established connections across generations. They or their families continue to meet. Which highlighted how the unexpected comes along with the expected.
The beauty of it was how natural it felt to switch languages and discuss a variety of cultures. To see how they had impacted each other and how that impact continues to be present in our current way of life.
This diversity served as the glue for our conversation.