Friends In Strange Places

Sometimes you meet someone and it all just clicks for a second. This person might only be in your life for a few months, a couple of days, maybe only mere hours, but the connection sticks with you long after you’ve gone separate ways.

I’ve had a lot of people make brief but substantial appearances in my life this past year or so, and while I may never see or hear from them ever again, I’m thankful all the same for the time we spent together.

This post is for a few of those people:

The teacher in Ottawa who’s house I stayed at for a single night as my first ever airbnb experience. After returning late from seeing One Direction (the reason I was in Ottawa for a mere 24 hours), she made me pancakes and we talked for ages about the importance of education and nature and our lives, like old friends catching up.

The cute girl in Seattle who’s first words to me were, “do you wanna go do karaoke?” to which I surprisingly said “yes”. The girl who convinced me to sing Mr. Brightside at the top of my lungs in front of people I’d just met. Afterwards, we sat on my bunk in our hostel dorm listening to music and laughing about memes and discussing our big plans for the future. Suddenly it was 4am and I had to be up at 6am to get on a train back to Canada. And I almost didn’t want to. We ate plain bread in the shared kitchen before I went one way and she went the other. I remember opening my backpack after getting to Blue River and smiling at the tiny stash of Laffy Taffy she’d given me, strewn between phone chargers and headphone wires.

The woman in Halifax who spent 10 days making me coffee and offering to drive me around. Who decided to make a day of driving me out to Peggy’s Cove because she wanted me to see it, who gave me a heavy sweater because I hadn’t brought any. Who introduced me to yoga and brought me to my first ever class. Who took me to an art festival and insisted that I wear her boots because she thought they were my style, introduced me to her friends and let me cuddle her dog. Who gave me a pile of books to read while I stayed with her, because she thought I’d enjoy them.We had a lot of great conversations on those dreary March mornings and I forget most of what was said, but I do not forget feeling comfortable and warm in that kitchen.

The kind lady in Cardiff who made me tea and toast and told me about her travels through Europe when she was younger. The one with the adorable, cozy attic with the skylight and the purring cat and the mural in her garden.

All of these people have just reinforced the importance I place on kindness. None of these people had the obligation to be so incredibly nice to me, but because they were, they have a small place in my memory.

I have a quote taped to my bedroom wall that reads

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

To me, this is about being kind. Yes, I do remember what these people did, because none of these things happened all that long ago. It is the way that they did them – not for personal gain, not expecting anything back from me, just because they were genuinely kind people. Their heart was in it. All of these people made me feel important. They made me feel at home when I was so far from it. They all felt familiar, and though we’d only just met, we spoke like close friends.

It’s so easy to be cynical and unaffected in life that sometimes I forget how much better it is to put your heart on your sleeve and openly care for people. You might think, “well, what if they don’t reciprocate?” and to that I say that it doesn’t matter. You can only control yourself and what you put out into the world – and eventually, some of that positive energy will come back to you.

It doesn’t add anything to your life to be negative. This much I know.

Xo, Rachel



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