Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wanderlust in My Bones & a Gypsy Soul



I've always dreamt about being a gypsy. Something about their nomadic lifestyle has always fascinated me, even as a kid. Although as a kid, I wasn't exposed to many gypsies in my fairly tame suburban life, so I latched onto the next best thing, Carnies! Carnies were far more accessible, kind of like the suburban gypsy, not quite as exotic, but just as interesting. Breezing into small towns all over the country, setting up shop for a few days, then simply vanishing in the middle of the night..with only the remains of a deflated balloon or an empty popcorn container to prove they were ever there. Something about the way they seemed to magically appear and disappear, within the blink of an eye, was always hauntingly fascinating to me. You would see their trailers set up along the perimeter of the midway and I always wondered what went on after hours. It all seemed very mysterious to me at the time. As a teenager I hatched this plan that I was going to disguise myself and somehow join a Carnival family, living amongst them in hopes of learning their secrets. I would travel with them throughout the country for one year and then write a book detailing my adventures. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, although my mom was quick to point out that I probably wouldn't have much luck convincing them I was a true Carny, and also that it would be unethical to pose as something I'm not in hopes of infiltrating their camp and writing an expose on their way of life. (I also had a similar plan around that time, same scenario except that I was going to disguise myself and live in one of the "hollers" in Appalachia, live there for one year, write a book, blah blah, blah, my mom shot that one down as well). As an adult I realize the unethical nature of my old plan and now know that their are cultural anthropologists that do that sort of thing for a living (without all the clandestine cloak & dagger disguising business, of course). I never did get to join a Carnival family, or live in Appalachia for that matter, but I continue to be fascinated with those kinds of small, fringe, subcultures. And I did have an encounter with real gypsies several years ago when I was visiting Florence. Well not an encounter "per se", but I did SEE them (encounter just sounded more interesting). There was a whole gypsy clan, men, women, and children, spanning an entire sidewalk while we were shopping one day, sitting on several blankets strewn about. The women kind of looked how you would expect a gypsy to look. They weren't wearing bandanas on their heads, large gold hoop earrings, and handkerchief hem skirts, like I used to wear when I would dress up as a gypsy for a Halloween...no, not how you would expect in THAT way, but rather they were wearing lots of layers of clothing. They had dark features, complexion, and hair, one of the shop owners told my friend and I that they were from Romania. I remember that they had several chihuahuas with them and I was disappointed that one of them was on a cell phone...(in my fantasy gypsies DO NOT use cell phones) They had the children begging for money from all the tourists shopping, it was actually very sad, a more exotic version of our country's homeless population. Definitely not the romanticized vision I had as a child. But despite this knowledge, there's still a part of me that's intrigued by their nomadic spirit, enchanted by the seemingly simple nature of their lifestyle...not being constrained by physical possessions, homes, mortgages, car payments, etc. and having the ability to go wherever the spirit moves them...I guess in that way, I'll always have a bit of wanderlust in my bones...

8 comments:

Lisa Billings said...

Reality rarely lives up to our imaginations!

dollface design said...

You are not kidding! My romanticized vision was certainly shot down when I saw that cell phone, but at least they had access to modern technology, which is a good thing, and they had chihuahuas, which is ALWAYS a good thing!

Mon Ami Jewelry Designs said...

Is the second picture (in your contest) a feminine deer or doe?

Mimischkä said...

Hi

It's just FANTASTIC !

Kisses from France ;-)

Mylène/Mimischkä

Tammie Moore said...

lOVE your blog and artwork always girl, keep inspiring us.... Creatively,
Tammie Moore
mooretreasures@verizon.net

Iulia said...

Hi there!
I wrote you twice on Etsy and had no answer.
I ordered some papers from your store about 3 weeks ago and paid for. Haven't received them yet although I had your confirmation. Is it possible to still have them?
Please contact me.
Iulia

Mike said...

Some people though get really mad if you call them a gypsy even though they are.

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