One of my greatest joys of living in Dubai is the opportunity to meet and converse with people from places I’ve never heard of, or know next to nothing about. Travel and Expat life will certainly make you more gregarious, and thus more comfortable talking with strangers. Living far away from home, we become masters at making new friends — unless you’re an introvert. If that’s the case, I suggest you find a way to put yourself out there, despite your shyness. Otherwise, you WILL end up sipping on lots of lonely coffees. Why? Because meeting new people means being exposed to new ideas, perspectives, AND opportunities!
Recently, I met the first person I’ve ever met from Kyrgyzstan.
I loved her! She was cheerful and chirpy, with a bright and breezy personality. Before you know it, we were yapping away! The melee was so sweet I developed an instant gossip-induced endorphin rush. I’m talking about a juicy conversation – probing, novel, and information-packed – beyond the often mundane small talk I sometimes have with random strangers.
We talked about:
- Dating drama in her country vs. dating here in Dubai
- All about Kyrgyzstan
- All about the Caribbean
- World Politics (why Putin is not as bad as Western media portrays him – THAT was interesting!)
- Our families
Next you know, we were pulling up and showing each other pictures of our loved ones. We shrewdly queried maps on Google showing what corner of the world we’re from. As usual, I got a response something like “My God, such a tiny place you come from”. 😊
I had questions! You know…because inquiring minds wanna know. And because – you know – being curious about things in general leads to infinite knowledge and wisdom. Stuff like: So what is Kyrgyzstan like? What is your cuisine like? Is Lagman soup one of your dishes? Do you guys love mayonnaise as much as Russians do? How did Koreans end up living in your parts? How many languages do you speak?
She snickered and was not only happy to answer, but went in-depth. Turns out a significant number of Central Asians are ethnically Korean. Many fled to Siberia in the early 20th century to avoid living under Japanese rule. Sadly, this migration came with tragic accounts of persecutions, repressions, and deaths. Many no longer speak much of the language. Migration in hardly ever a glamorous feat. The multiple stresses that come with picking up and leaving everything you know behind are often detrimental towards the loss of cultural norms, religious customs, and social support systems.
OK, so this just got sad for a second. But this not a sad post. It’s a cheery one. 😉
I split my sides with laughter as she recounted a story about a guy who abandoned ship when it came to paying a bill after a dinner date and then had the audacity to call back the lady to ask for another date. Hmmmm…what would Carrie Bradshaw say about this?
She even went into politics a bit, explaining why she admires Putin and how Western media sometimes gives him a bad wrap. I was intrigued, to say the least!
We bantered on for way over the time my mani/pedi was done. She was so engrossed in our conversation that she forgot she had another client waiting.
I left the salon feeling amused. Nothing better than the right combination of a part-fluffy part-cerebral conversation. Nails were on point too. ♥