Come on in Stranger!


I recall so many great moments in my life, and many of them only happened because I trusted in the people around me and I trusted in myself. 

I heard the same warning over and over, “Be careful,” and I was careful, but I also let my intuition and my ability to judge situations guide me, especially when I traveled to foreign countries.

“Don’t mingle with the natives,” they often said and I never really understood. How can you learn something -anything- about a different country, if you don’t have contact with the people who live there?

Common sense comes in handy. You don’t travel to a poorer country and show off your jewelry and wave around the dollar bills. You don’t act provocative in someone else’s home.

“Don’t mingle with the natives,” that was a rule I was not willing to accept.

I wanted to meet the natives, wanted to eat what they were eating; I wanted to see how they were living. I wanted to learn about their way of life -if they would let me. I had chosen a career that had me traveling the world; I wanted to widen my horizon, I wanted to learn. How can we learn when we aren’t open to new things?

I remember a small tavern in Greece, it was just a few blocks away from the hotel we were staying at and I felt magically drawn to the place. I was tired of the hotel food, was tired of some of my co-workers. We worked together during the day; I was not too thrilled about spending the evenings with them as well.

One night I went for a stroll and automatically walked into the direction of the tavern. I heard music and laughter and the smell of food made my mouth water.

I opened the door and everybody -and I mean everybody- looked at me. The conversations stopped for a few seconds, and I felt like an intruder until an older gentleman waved at me. He invited me in and I gladly accepted.

They shuffled chairs around, and I was asked to sit with them. There I was, the young Austrian woman with her pale face and freckles in between all these beautiful dark skinned people with black hair. I stood out like a fly in the milk, and nobody cared.

They made me feel welcome; they were curious about the stranger who had come to visit them, and I was curious about them. We talked with hands and feet and tried a mix of languages.

The music played, and I watched men dance.They made me feel welcomed, and I willingly shared some of my life with them.

I canceled my dinners in the hotel and spend my evenings in that little tavern instead. I learned a lot about their way of life. We were not so different after all -we never are.

“Aren’t you afraid?” people often asked me, and I always wondered about that. Sometimes I was scared, and I walked away, other times I wasn’t, and I trusted. How can we explain why we trust? How can we explain why we feel fear?

I feel that distrust is on the rise in this world, while trust is on the short supply list and I wish so much I could change that. Trust is nothing more than confidence in the other person.

I wish we would give each other a little bit more credit.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
― Ernest Hemingway



16 thoughts on “Come on in Stranger!

  1. I am in very deep agreement with you on this. I have worked out, in the course of a varied life, that trusting people nearly always brings kindness and assistance. As a parent, too, if you trust your children they will take responsibility for their actions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “I wanted to meet the natives, wanted to eat what they were eating; I wanted to see how they were living. I wanted to learn about their way of life -if they would let me.”
    This is how I felt when I went to Europe and the UAE (especially the Middle East). It changes your life and you’ll never fall for the hype of cable news again. 🙂 Wonderful post!


  3. As you said in an earlier comment, common sense is a good guideline. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be exercised very often.
    I liked the line “We were not so different after all -we never are.” True words. Strip away all the man-made ideologies and underneath we have the same common needs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “I was careful, but I also let my intuition and my ability to judge situations guide me”

    I think this is the key. So often it seems we—or maybe I should say “I” and not try to speak for anyone else—try to externalize trust. But I think that in most situations, if we stay aware of and responsive to our own intuitions, that can go a long way towards keeping us safe. This kind of internal trust is something I’m working on, and I admire your ability to practice it.

    Liked by 1 person

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