It is one of those truisms you hear so often that you begin to dismiss it as meaningless: that living or traveling abroad can make you understand things in a different way.
I've been thinking about this lately. Our apartment has a balcony that looks out on a small yard with several trees. There are lots of birds that we just don't see or hear in the Midwest: magpies, giant pigeons, and blackbirds. I often work at the kitchen table with the door to the balcony open, with birdsong (as well as traffic noise and children playing) as background music. For a long time, Tony and I were puzzled by the fact that we would often hear the birds singing long after the sun went down. Don't Swiss birds (with the exception of owls) sleep at night?
And then we finally understood the lyrics to the Beatles song:
Blackbird singing in the dead of night.
Take these broken wings and learn to fly.
Oh. So blackbirds really do sing in the dead of night. I guess it's just because they were only waiting for this moment to arise.