I probably talked about this at some stage when I was living down in New Zealand, but regardless of that fact I am going to bring it up again. Something that I loved about living down there was that I had to take public transportation. It wasn’t love at first sight, but something I acquired and the reason for this love was because of the people I met along the way. I got to meet some of the most caring, passionate, and driven people on those buses. People who changed my way of thinking and the way I look at others. So when I moved back to California there was a deep appreciation that I was going to be able to drive myself wherever I needed to at the drop of a pin. But I also knew with this “new found” freedom would come an overwhelming sense of disappoint. I wouldn’t be getting to meet strangers or I would no longer have the convenience of strangers being around me each and every day as they had been before. That was until recently. There are strangers all around me but just happen to cross my life in a different way. And the culture surrounding strangers is a bit different here, just depends on how willing you are to make that jump and feel a bit foolish in talking to someone you don’t know. My example for the day is a woman at the gym. We were running right next to each other, but hadn’t paid any attention to each other. I was engrossed in my latest book and she engulfed in the television before her. It wasn’t until someone made a comment to her that made me laugh and she looked over at me. She smiled and that was it a conversation was born; with that smile she was open to talking and I was open to listening. Spent a few minutes conversing in sync with our treadmills and said our goodbyes. We happened to be leaving the gym at the same time and before we knew it 30 minutes had passed us by. We discussed writing, love, weight, family, cultures, and God. I feel as though I am missing New Zealand so much more in these latter months and maybe that is because I know I am not going back anytime relatively soon. But there are things that I learned down there and piece of me that developed that is trying so desperately to find its place to fit in this society and culture. Sepi was a wonderful reminder that it can happen…she was a wonderful reminder that I can still use the gifts that I have been given and that they have not grown completely rusty in these last 6 months. Sometimes strangers scare me, sometimes strangers make me laugh, and sometimes stranger become more than stranger through the stories we exchange…more often than not I like strangers, because if I have an encounter with a stranger they aren’t strangers for long, but friends.