Lately in London… Meeting new friends and hearing their stories

Rosalita Capoldo, Foreign Correspondent

Being abroad has given me so many incredible opportunities, such as traveling the world, trying new foods, and experiencing so many different cultures; but above all, it has allowed me to meet even more incredible people.

I think one of the hardest things about going abroad that no one really talks about is all the amazing one-time conversations. All the people you meet in passing that you will probably never see again in your life. It’s a big, and somewhat daunting idea, but the reality I’ve discovered is that it happens. It happens a lot.

For example, I met a family at Disneyland Paris that was from Dublin. It was a mom and two little girls, and they asked if they could sit next to my friend and I at dinner. We got to talking about our days, and that conversation proceeded into us talking about where we were from and our everyday lives. We even got to the point where I shared some of my dessert with the girls. Our interaction lasted no more than an hour, but it was one of the funniest and most fulfilling conversations I’ve had while abroad.

Another example would be with a taxi driver I had while in Belfast. He talked to me about the history of Belfast, how he was lucky enough to have a family friend — whom he considered like a nephew to him — surprise him by beginning to work at the same company as him, and how much he enjoyed getting to meet all the different people who came to visit Belfast. He was so proud of his heritage, but also so eager to learn more about mine.

The last conversation that has left an impact with me, was the time my friends and I hung out with some British guards for a couple of hours. They asked us all about American politics and how it compares to the politics adopted in the United Kingdom. They told us how they cannot walk around in their uniforms, because there is too much of a risk of them being attacked if they do. They also showed us the wonders of the “cheesy bites,” an apparent McDonald’s staple here in Europe.

All-in-all, what I’m trying to say is that I think I have learned more from my scattered and sometimes brief conversations with average people — people who remind me just how incredible and kind this world can be. So even though it may stink that I’ll never get to see them again, I will always be grateful for the time spent with them; and, I’ve found that these conversations have lead me to be a more open-minded and welcoming individual — traits that I hope I can continue to have as well as showcase when I return home.