Wendy Wickham has returned from her holiday to the Dominican Republic, and her reflective post includes an inventory of what she used to consider must have items to take on holiday. One item on her list jumped out at me:
You see, one of the reasons English people find me weird is that I do this. All the time. Without the slightest provocation.
I compliment people on their clothes, their children. I compliment children on their manners, their beautiful eyes. I tell the person next to me at the supermarket freezer that the pizzas have gone up since last week. I say "bless you" when I complete stranger sneezes within my hearing. I say "Can I give you a hand with that?" when I see people struggling with something. I knock on complete strangers' doors and ask them where they got their beautiful dog/water feature/aspidistra.
And you would be amazed at how ready people are to talk right back! These reserved English people seem to be just dying for the chance to tell anyone who will listen about how they handmade their jumper/necklace. They are delighted that someone is inviting them to brag about their kids. They are thrilled to be able to tell someone that the same pizzas are "half this price at X place - you should check it out."
I meet the most amazing people and I learn the most incredible stuff. I learn that some people think celery tastes good with peanut butter. I go home, try it and disagree.
I learn that you can make a 'cocktail' by melting jelly babies in vodka. I decide not to try that one.
I learn that there are free crafting classes at a local stationery warehouse. I learn that my new dog is probably not a German Shepherd cross but may well be an Atika... maybe even uncrossed. I look it up on Google images and agree that the chances are better than average that she is at the very least an Atika cross. I ask the lady from the shelter who comes to do the placement follow up visit. She says she has thought from the start that Jessie is an Akita.
I learn that someone with epilepsy experienced a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of his seizures when he stopped eating meat.
Just last week, a conversation over the frozen pizzas revealed that the woman I was speaking to lived for 5 years in the city in which I was born. She even lived in a street in which I lived - although not at the same time. Considering that the city in which I was born is in a different country, on a different continent, some 12000kms hence! We spent a good few minutes reminiscing together, before parting ways, each with a warm fuzzy feeling.
I like talking to people. It startles them at first, but they usually get over it really quickly.
We are social creatures. We're supposed to talk. And you learn so much that way!