First Published on May 20th, 2012, here it is again to show how we are given opportunities to smile on the 'snowiest' of days!!
You meet 'all kinds' everywhere. It was my luck to have gotten lost that day...so I could make a new acquaintance. K, May 2012.
Some time in February, on a snowy day, I went our for a short walk. Snow is snow. Trees are trees. And roads are roads. I thought I knew where I was headed. I took the risk and went on the road I had not walked before. At least not in the dark. It must have been after 5 pm, so it was pitch dark.
It was not long before I realized that I had lost my way. There were trees all over. There were a few fast moving cars. It did not seem like the path that a bus would take. None of the cars was slowing down and there were no people on a lazy stroll, like I.......
It did not take me long to panic. I was trying to be calm and trying to figure out various scenarios of what might happen if I do not find the way. Or any person who could help me.
I turned around and saw that both directions looked the same.
OK!! We are lost. I took a deep breath and turned around.
It was then that I saw a young woman on her bike riding in my direction. I asked her which direction to walk in to get to town. Oh, you are about 30 minutes walk away....
Really, I walked that far...I had gone only for a short walk...
Ok, just direct me.
No worries. She tried to point out. But after she saw an expression of hopelessness on my face, she smiled and said, 'No worries, I will walk with you' and got off her bike.
So we walked together for the next half hour. Not only did we have a great conversation, but at the end of it she simply said, 'Here take my number so we can get together again, may be go for a walk sometime.'
"Sure' I said, I was touched.
But you know how often that happens. How many times people exchange phone numbers and never call. I personally take a while before I will call someone.
After a few days I got a text from K, 'Do you want to go for a walk?"
I could not make it, but we exchanged a few texts.
About a week later she texted again but I was really sick and could not leave home. I stayed sick for nearly a month and so could not connect. Two overseas trips in between and then finally I contacted her in early May. I had felt really sad for not being able to meet her again. Simply because here was a person who was making an effort to start a possible friendship.
From the time I had questioned friendships and way various forms of 'human interactions' work, often on 'need to need' basis.....I had vowed that whenever I met someone who took extra time to be there, I will honor them. However, the last few years have been extremely busy and it has been difficult to start friendships or maintain them. Infact, I remember meeting a Venezualan girl in Colombia, who although wrote to me a very kind email had said, 'even though at this point in life--with three daughters and a husband, I have no time for new friendships, I wanted to say that I felt that I had always known you.'
I had felt the same warmth, but I agreed with her. I knew what she meant.
So when K had worked so hard on keeping in touch and because we lived so close to each other, I knew I had to make an effort.
So we decided to go for a walk. I met K outside of Pressbyran--which is an equivalent of 7/11-ish convenience store. Although they are hardly open past 8 pm. K was really tired so we simply walked to her apartment. Her roommates are from Ethiopia.
K talked about her daughter, her short stay in India, her love for travel, and especially Asia, and her desire to go to Vietnam. While we talked she made me a delicious cup of cardamom tea. I mean she actually put real cardamom in the tea water, and brewed the tea just right and served it with milk. What delight.
Since she was really tired we did not talk much, but when I left I was smiling.
Simply because that evening had become another testimonial to my all time beliefs, 'You meet all sorts of people everywhere.'
You see, people have often told me that people in the 'North' are not that polite or warm or kind.
I think you can find kind people everywhere. Even though I am slightly bitter about my time in the US and the idea of friendship and community, I met some of the nicest people there. I keep in touch, on a regular basis with at least 20-30 people from the US. Granted some of them are not truly americans, but some are. And there were many other americans I had short term friendships with, and very often I was on the receiving end of their kindness.
Niceness/Kindness like love and anger, is not limited by any boundary and is not exclusive to any religion, faith, nationality or ethnicity.
So, I am somewhat embarrassed at my open disdain of 'lack of continuation' in the US friendships and relationships. My time there was tough in numerous ways. But I survived due to kindness of people.
You really do meet all sorts of people everywhere. This post is dedicated to K, who not only showed me the right path, by walking with me that one snowy evening, but also pointed me back to my own heart---so I may remember--my belief---
All kinds, everywhere.