i talk to strangers

3:37 PM

“Don’t talk to strangers,” my mother once said. It was one of the very first rules I learned and tried to live by.  And not so surprising, it was also one of the very first I’ve broken.

There is something about talking to strangers that gives me the thrill. I would normally talk to people at the check-out line or on a bench when I am people watching. Sometimes, they do get surprised when I start a conversation. There were quite a number of occasions when I’d ask the cashier or the bag lady how she is and she’d be often at a loss for words. She’d just stare at me and then mumble a reply.

I most love talking to strangers when I’m traveling. I am a stranger to them as much as they are strangers to me. I am but another Asian girl passing through their lovely country. They know nothing of my misadventures or the fact that I love gorging on inasal. I absolutely love the anonymity. Not that I’ve introduced myself in a less truthful manner. But I guess the possibility of being someone else, that ideal “me” in my mind, is enthralling.

There is always the chance that I’ll be slighted, of course.  I am no supermodel or am I an actress. I am no china doll. I am just plump me. And I have to admit that a part of the thrill comes from eliciting a response even if I look the way I do. And when they do respond, it is to me a sort of quiet victory for the chubby morena malay girl.

But at the heart of it all, I genuinely like to know other people’s stories simply because they live in a different locale. I expect to hear another way of life or a different view on things. Then I’d be surprised and mildly upset when I find out that we look at things the same way. This doesn’t happen often but it did happen a few times.

At the risk of sounding ordinary, I do believe that the people I meet, each person I pass by on the street, or that someone who catches my eye are all part of the journey. We wouldn’t have gotten together on that same plane if we weren’t moving toward each other.  There must be something in that and the least I can do to seize it is to take a photo. Yes, they might forget about me. I might forget about them. But many thanks to that photo, I could be reminded of that fleeting moment.  

Ambushed this Harry-Potter-look-a-like at this year's Fete de la musique

Shared a table with Joan at NAIA terminal 3 while waiting for my flight to Guangzhou

Met this little boy in front of the Drum Tower in Beijing

Posed with charming boy right near the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid

Hamming it up with Frederick from Sweden right after meandering around Kinabalu Park 

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