Talking to Strangers

As those of you who know me can attest, one of my favorite things to do is make friends, or as I more cheekily refer to it “talking to strangers.” Some of the neatest people I have meet and conversations I have had have been completely random.

Though I talk to strangers pretty much everywhere I go, for some reason today I was just on a roll. Chalk it up to the fact that I’m finally starting my adventure (yay!) and am feeling particularly bold. Here are a few of the folks I have met today:

  • The only other white girls at the flight gate in Chicago when I arrived. Eventually was seated next to them and learned that they were Jehovah’s Witnesses. Learned they were only 18 though they appeared to be much older. Good group of girls.
  • An Indian guy who I first saw talking to the Jehovah’s Witness girls and who later came over and talked to me. Friendly…borderline weird. He kept getting up when I would and talked to me as I went to use the restroom and fill my water bottle. “Water makes you skinny,” he offered. When I went to catch my flight for the final leg of my journey, he came up to me and handed me his business card, telling me he’d be in Delhi for business for the month. Sweet, dude, I’m not (I’m headed on to Bombay!)
  • My favorite: the barista at Caribou coffee. Easily the friendliest and funniest barista I’ve ever met. After a loooong night/morning packing and rushing through traffic fearing I’d miss my flight, I was particularly appreciative of his chipper spirit. I met said barista when I saw a sign from afar that was advertising breakfast sandwiches. I LOVE breakfast sandwiches. As I approached, I asked him if they were good and he launched into a description of each of my five options, citing the chicken apple sausage one as his favorite. As if I needed convincing. He proceeded to let me know that I could get a medium or large coffee for half price with my sandwich, which was awesome since I was going to get one anyway. Thanks barista.

I also met a nice Indian grandpa who asked me which Bollywood movie I was watching, a guy teaches in Bangladesh, and a fellow Minnesotan who was moving to Bhutan.

I’ve noticed that I have mixed feelings when it comes to other foreigners. On the one hand I find myself surprisingly judgmental (“Oh look at them in their typical Indian tourist garb. Nice scarves and painfully long skirts.”) I’m not sure why this is. I imagine to some degree it’s a sign of my own self-consciousness. I wonder whether my clothes are okay, whether people think I have too much luggage, how stupid I seem asking an Indian airport official four times which way to go. On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed talking to the few other foreigners I’ve met so far.

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