10 Jan Talk to Strangers
It’s something your parents told you never to do as a child. Even as an adult I find the advice of “never talk to strangers” sticks. But it shouldn’t. I recently went on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with 3 of my best friends. We drove around the island of Ireland a little more than a week and then spent about 5 days in Scotland.
We flew into Dublin and stayed downtown in a hostel above a very noisy bar in the Temple Bar area. (If you want sleep after a very long flight I suggest you don’t do this.) We were up all night listening to very loud and out of tune 20 somethings sing Sweet Caroline and Ring of Fire.
The second night, one of my friends, Molly, had arranged that we stay with a cousin of a friend. So we thought. The only information she/we had was their first names and the county of where they lived. Oh, and we knew they had a dairy farm. We headed in the direction of the county and ended up in the beautiful back country of somewheresville Ireland.
45 minutes went by without seeing a soul. Then we saw a man working in his front yard. We immediately pulled up to his gate and and Molly jumped out to ask if he knew where Tom and Maye (we were pronouncing in Mia) lived. He had no idea. His son came out and thought he knew who we were referring to. He jumped in his car and told us to follow him. He took us to a beautiful old farm house where Tom and Maye (Pronounced May. no wonder the guy didn’t know who we referring to.) were waiting for us with tea, jam, bread, butter and little sandwiches.
The next three hours we felt as though we had known Tom and Maye for our whole lives. We ate, shared stories about our families, talked about politics, and sang old Irish songs together. Their daughter and granddaughter came over to meet us and joined in the celebration. But what celebration? Their son soon followed. Before it became too dark we drove out to the field to see their cows. We all went in the fence and like good city-girl americans, took selfies with the cows. Tom and Maye and their family laughed at us and I can only imagine what they were thinking. I am not sure any of us had set foot in a cow pasture before.
We had never met Tom, Maye and their family before that day and may never see them again. But you see, there are good things that happen when talking to strangers. Celebrations happen. Celebrations of something new. Celebrations of friendship. I find that by meeting new people I even become more creative and it gives me a new energy that I bring back to my desk.