I can't remember when was the last time I went to see a performance of contemporary dance. Probably never did. Theatre, sure, opera too – although I clearly spent more time in the last decade at museums or rock concerts than opera houses, I am equally comfortable banging my head in a muddy radiohead concert or swoon in the “poulailler” of Paris' opera for Le Nozze de Figaro.
The travelers’ dream of the Big House
March 1, 2009
I learned a second language at age 9. A third and fourth at 13. I was not particularly fortunate, or living in a very international family or region. This was pretty much what every little European went through at the time.
Back then, we had pen-pals from England. They had a different language, a different upbringing, a different culture. They had a meal called “tea” and swear words that our America-influenced TV didn’t even know of. They were but a hundred kilometres away, and yet so alien to our adolescent eyes.
There was no clear reason why we were made into such culturally permeable youth. In the 1980s and early 1990s, “Globalisation” wasn’t even a fashionable term yet, and the concept of a “grand tour” of Europe as a way to perfect the education of the well-off was a thing of the past under our longitudes. Post world-wars European nations just happened to try to stick together for a change, and teaching kids to talk with their neighbours carried some hope of a lasting peace. To our parents’ generation, it just seemed like a good idea at the time, just like speaking mostly Spanish to my (French) best friend in high schools just sounded fun.
Fast forward a decade or two, and I’d ended up living on three distinct continents. And with a generation scattered around the globe, with friends from Oslo to Buenos Aires, from New York to Shanghai, I share a recurring dream. Not a month passes without hearing about that dream, or having it myself: living in one big house with all my friends, my family, all my loved ones.
There is no such place, and yet I have seen it, again and again. In dreams.
For the past few years, I have been extremely lucky to work on some really wonderful projects, with millions of customers, a healthy user community, and a very good karma for the service they provide to the world. I've been paid to spend up to half of my time working on those projects. And yet, these projects never made a penny. I've been working in the strange world of open source / free software.