One thing that is so wonderful about visiting other countries is the people. There is something magical when you connect with others, especially those who seem so different. Here are the top ten ways we observed (while in Italy) that we have far more in common than we may realize:
- Babies on Airplanes. While this could be its own post, it was fun to watch the one in the seat ahead of me continually throw his stuff on the ground, and then to watch his grown-up pick it up repeatedly. I began counting this, kinda like sheep, but only got to twenty-seven before I drifted off.
- Young Lovers. When you’re young and in love, you are a lot less picky about where you’ll have a full blown make-out session. While Italy is quite romantic, sitting on a curb in the middle of town, in the middle of the day is not. Unless you’re young and in love, and it won’t matter in the slightest.
- Politically Averse Young Adults. We chatted with 2 friends from the UK (age 21) who were as irritated by their own government as we are with ours. We concluded that the best way to affect change is for their generation to step up and vote.
- Swimming In Cold Water. This may not apply everywhere (I’m talking to you, Canada). But it was fun watching kids enter the 72 degree water without flinching, and totally commiserating with the other sensible adults who could barely get in past our ankles.
- People Yelling at Seagulls. It’s not the least bit effective, but when a seagull snatches your wallet and flies off with it, the response is universal. This particular woman (not me, thanks be to God) chose to run after it screaming hysterically. When it landed in the harbor with its new treasure in its beak, the performance included the victim stripping off her clothes at the water’s edge and getting in after it. This may have worked if she had only stopped screaming first.
- Puppy Love. No, this is not the same as point number two. Penelope was a four month old, roly-poly Golden Retriever who belonged to one of the waiters. During dinner, the puppy-sitter decided to lounge on a stoop two feet from our table. Each and every person who saw this pup broke out in a smile and petted her cute little puppy head. Puppies for the win every time.
- Street Artists and Musicians. I have a rule that if someone is performing, I put money in their cup or guitar case or whatever it is. We heard an incredibly talented jazz band and saw chalk artists replicating fine works of art. We witnessed a man dressed like Michelangelo freaking people out when he actually moved. Art has a way of dissolving differences.
- Say Cheese. Okay, so everyone may not say this exactly, but taking photos is such a THING. Selfie sticks and timers have their place, but whenever my daughter offered to capture the entire group, people were thankful and reciprocated. Smile everyone – for real.
- Respect For Our Elders. No matter how rushed we are, the frailty of those a generation (or two) ahead of us, catches our attention. Whether it was boarding a train, plane or automobile, we consistently saw others express patience and assistance to the elderly travelers. This alone gives me so much hope for the future.
- Good Manners. In every language, there is something sweet to be found in a few basic phrases: Hello/Goodbye, Please /Thank You, You’re Welcome, Excuse Me, Good Morning, and Good Evening. It’s like the WD40 of humanity, it just keeps things moving and easy. Travelers Bonus: know these in the native tongue of the country in which you are visiting.
What are the things you observe about people when you travel? Does the amount of similarity cause you to feel connected? What is the thing you are most surprised about when you find yourself in a different space?
This concludes the Italy trip as it’s time for other topics now… Next week I’ll be posting about my experience (so far) with the Artist Way.
Thanks for reading, until next time,