Is it an age thing, a generation thing? Or does it depend on the place, the people?
Whatever the reason, I am now doing it.
It’s easy to talk to strangers here in Hobart. As we walk down the street in our suburb, or along the beach, almost everyone acknowledges each other with a “Good morning” or “G’day” or at least a nod and a smile. When you see a familiar face, the interaction expands to a few sentences about the day or the weather.
As my daughter rightly pointed out on our recent holiday together, before we event got on the plane, “Mum, you are getting like Nan!”. I’d started speaking to the couple in front of us in the check-in queue.
I always thought my Mum had a knack for chatting to strangers, getting to know their life stories in a few minutes, finding that they knew someone who knew someone that she knew. Small world. But perhaps that is just small town life, away from the big city rat race.
I travelled to London for years, catching the same commuter train, seeing the same faces day in and day out, yet we never spoke, hardly acknowledged each other, just vied for a seat and concentrated on our newspaper or book.
As we moved to a new place, without knowing anyone here, with no work connections, we’ve had to talk to strangers. Otherwise Aussie Mate and I would just be talking to each other and the walls.
It’s easy to start a conversation. I stop and chat to neighbours when collecting post from our mail boxes. I invite people in for a cup of coffee. I organised a “meet your neighbour” picnic out in our small communal garden, as several neighbours said they didn’t know anyone in our unit block. Fourteen people shared a drink and snacks over interesting conversations, in the weekend sunshine. Retirees met university students, Tassie’s met a family from South Korea, here for a year work exchange. I was pleased that I’d initiated the gathering.
The online community has been a treasured means of communication, commenting on blog posts, enjoying conversations, getting to know people through their words and photos.
I’ve met locals who blog or participate in the Photo A Day challenge. We’ve recognised photos of local places, chatted online and now meet in person as friendship blossoms.
Whilst visiting Perth recently, I met up with a fellow blogger, Rosemary from “Le Chic en Rose”. We have similarities in our lives with daughters on both sides of the world, parents back in the UK. We enjoyed a lovely morning with tea and pastries. It was good to share thoughts that don’t get into our blogs.
So yes, I’ll carry on talking to strangers.