So the other evening, I got on the bus, awkwardly shuffled down the aisle, and sat next to a stranger. We made awkward eye contact, I reached for the elusive headphones tucked somewhere deep in my purse, and this stranger said an accented hello. I contemplated for a moment whether or not I would respond before the words “How was your day?” slipped out of my mouth. We spent thirty minutes in the back of a tired bus making its millionth trip from Denver to Boulder just chatting about his home country and the uniqueness of culture. And it made me remember something really specific about myself: I love cultures. I love challenging notions of what is perceived as right or appropriate or normal and how those things are seen differently depending where you are from. I love languages and hearing about daily life in other parts of the world.
This stranger was from Tunisia, quietly sitting and observing the daily life I’m so used to. He thought first in Arabic, then French, and then finally spoke in fluid accented English. He told me stories about growing up, about seeing parts of the States for the first time, about how surprising the size of the cars are here. Continue reading