I am continually surprised by how nice people are that I meet. Strangers will talk to you at the bus stop, in the supermarket, or at the movies. When lives intersect, there seems to be some kind of common ground. I love the interaction and I have learned a lot about local attitudes and customs. I have made friends in unexpected ways. I had no idea that this was the warm reception I was going to get in this country. Each day is an opportunity for an encounter. I try to initiate them for my part so it isn’t always one sided. You never feel lonely with this kind of social opportunities.
Of course there are the students in the classroom, the dorm, and the library. Wherever I look there are people to meet. I remember getting in a conversation with a young student in the book store because we were both trying to buy a text and there was only one left. Guess what. She relinquished it to me. Then there was the young man in the library who saw I was struggling with some words I couldn’t translate. He offered to explain their meaning in English so I could understand. At a ball game, a nice kid exchanged seats with me so I could see better. He explained the plays as he could tell I was new at this sport. These are the kinds of things that happen to you inadvertently when you aren’t even looking for them. It always raises my spirits and makes me happy that I chose this school. I love the surrounding environment as it includes non-students alike. It is a real community.
Another occasion I have to mention happened when I was riding my bike around campus and I suddenly got a flat. I was in a fix and didn’t have a clue what to do. I didn’t want to walk the bike such as it was all the way back to the dorm, which might have been a quarter mile. I leaned next to the bicycle in a quandary when a fellow student came by and noticed the dilemma. He opened the trunk of his car and pulled out the air compressor he keeps for emergencies. How lucky was that! He re-inflated the tire in no time flat and I could be on my way. But not before we exchanged phone numbers and a proper thank you on my part. I wanted to return the favor and take him some homemade cookies and cakes. I am not a bad baker. I was rescued by an air compressor and I wasn’t even sure what it was. I dutifully paid a visit and delivered the goodies. We had a nice long conversation over tea, my beverage of choice. I think this was the start of a nice friendship and it began in such an odd way. I call it happenstance or blind luck. While I meet many people, this one stood out as being special.