The world is a huge place while simultaneously being tiny. I have traveled to quite a few places around the globe and the people I’ve met who have either been where I live, or know people I know is scary as hell. Let me tell you three of my favorite instances:
Seoul, South Korea
Picture this, Saba, being suave as hell. But not actually, as I was hanging out in the bathroom of a clothing shop. We were waiting to celebrate one of our friends birthdays, by pre-gaming and then making our way to Gangnam to go clubbing. I’m in this bathroom with Chaimaa, my roommate, Hyun, the shop owner, and a tall blonde motherfucker who was more out of place than me. We were smoking cigarettes, because that’s what the cool kids do. The tall guy was pretty fucking attractive so I decide to strike up a conversation as being a smoker I was sure we could be comrades. He doesn’t have too much of an accent, so I ask where he’s from. He responds with a, “You’ve probably never heard of it.” I say, “Try me.” This dude is from fucking Milwaukee, Wisconsin, like born and raised there. I probably gave a “You’ve got to fucking be kidding me look” and I explained that I was from Madison, only an hour or so away. So long story short, met a dude while smoking in a bathroom who was born in the same state as me while in South Korea.
Picture this, Saba, being lost as hell. Katie and I were attempting to navigate during our first day out in Tokyo. The farthest we had gone up until this point was the subway station and we were kind of freaking out because neither of us speaks or reads Japanese. So we’re too, rather obvious looking, and lost foreigners. We’re staring at this map trying to figure out how the hell to get to the Imperial Palace. This older Japanese man comes up to us and asks if he can help us. We respond with where we’re trying to go and so on, and he helps us figure out where we need to go and offers to walk with us. As we’re walking we get to talking about where we’re from, and we explain that we’re from the United States. He goes on to tell us that apparently he used to live in, you guessed it, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What the fuck, like you’ve got to be kidding me. Is Milwaukee a secret hub of people that I didn’t realize until now? In the end we made it to our destination and we thanked him, as we ended up laughing to ourselves at how crazy the whole situation had been. Wisconsin is apparently more ethnic than either of us had realized.
Picture this, Saba, being buzzed as hell. My mother, Lori, Fabian, and myself are drinking at Hauf Brau Haus in Munich. This is a very touristy beer garden to say the least. We walk in and I casually glance around as every booth is basically full of tourists, there’s German folk music playing, and girls carrying trays of beer that looked heavier than they were. I look in the far side of the room and think that I see someone I knew from living in Korea, Florian, a tall guy from Austria. But that’s crazy, we’re in Germany there’s no way he’d be here. I get to the table and we start drinking. Curiously I open up my phone and sneak to Facebook to see what Florian is up to. I shit you not, there he fucking is, tagged in the same beer garden I was at. I got to bathroom, nervous and excited, and he’s not there. FUCK, I missed him. I dejectedly walk back to my table and explain that he must have just left. We finish our beer and decide to head out. As we’re walking out I look over, just in case, and there he fucking is, sitting in the booth. I sneak over and stand in front of him, we both have this great expression of, “What the actual fuck is going on, why are you here!?” We hug and he invites me to drink and not only was he there, but our friend Lena, who isn’t even in Munich, but Frankfurt. In the end we all got wasted and had a grand old time. How crazy is that!? Hadn’t seen either of these people in two years, and we had lived in South Korea, and there they were, in Munich, Germany. Here’s a lovely photo series of our meeting.
So basically what I’m trying to say is, make conversation with strangers, and you’ll see that the world is actually a reasonable size, and chances are this person knows someone you know. Should this encourage you to be less of an asshole at times, perhaps.