Friday, July 6, 2012

Multicultural Journeys Continue....Variety is the Spice of Life!

So I'm currently sitting at another airport (waiting for flight #16 so far this vacation) and this adorable little munchkin is goofing off with me. I just love kids here. She can't be more than 18 months but has a pot belly sticking out like her pregnant mommy and this chubby little face that can't be ignored. She's the cutest kid I've seen in a long time and that's a hard contest to win since I love kids and most of them are just absolutely adorable to me. But this little girl looks a lot like pebbles from the Flintstones only she's blonde. I couldn't help but smile she was so cute and then she just pointed at me and giggled. Ha! I love kids.

Anyway, today's flights and airports are again inspiring and interesting to me. I've experienced even more diversity today. Beside me on the morning plane was a Mexican man who just came back from a rodeo competition in Mexico and was flying home to see his wife for 2 weeks. He said he used to compete but now he's part of the crew because it became hard on his body. He fell asleep shortly after take off and so our conversation was short but he was a very nice man. I couldn't help but giggle a little because they assigned him the middle seat between two women. Lol. Poor guy.

Oh and I just heard the little girls daddy say "eww....stinky poo!" Now I suddenly realize a big part of why kids in the US grow up with such strong convictions against body odor, bathroom habits, etc. Their parents teach them! lol. ....okay back to my multi-cultural airport experiences.

I got to the airport with several hours between flights and so I decided to walk slow. That's when I spotted it. The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Store. Damn. I knew I couldn't pass it by. After all I had plenty of time and maybe, just maybe they might have the chocolate covered marshmallows I had been craving. Fine. I talked myself into it (like that was hard) and went in.

There were 2 African American (gotta be PC lol) ladies working and one was very friendly right off the bat. One of them made a comment and we struck up a conversation. I love these moments. People are so friendly in airports it seems (not the gate workers...just the store employees). Or maybe I'm just lucky. I don't know.  So we got to chatting. Next thing I know an hour had passed and I had spent $22 on a little over half a pound of chocolate lol. That $22 amounts to 5 white chocolate covered pretzels, 2 white chocolate macadamia nut clusters, 2 milk chocolate macadamia nut clusters, and 2 milk chocolate rocky road clusters. I got a free bucket of fudge with that. My teeth are literally going to rot out but that's not the subject lol.

Her I and I talked about politics (without any arguments or harsh words if you can believe that lol), religion, marriage, welfare, public assistance, college, getting pregnant and of course chocolate in that hour. While we were talking I couldn't help but appreciate how wonderful the conversation was and how even though we come from completely different walks of life, we understood each other. (She was from New Jersey btw.) We shared views, opinions, ideas and a culture (not the American one).

I just love these conversations I keep finding myself in. I'm sure I had them before leaving for India but I neither noticed them nor appreciated them for what they were/are. People are amazing. People from all walks of life are just spectacular. No matter what their background, history, problems, caste, social status, etc. they are each unique. Everyone deserves a chance to be who they are without a million labels thrown at them before you even know they exist.

I could have looked at either my flight mate or the store worker and decided they were different than me and chosen not to talk to them. I could have seen them as 'Mexican' or 'African American' and therefore not in my social circle. But I would have been the one that lost. I would have lost the chance to pass the time with two very nice people who had stories to share just like I do. I would have missed the feeling (aka REWARD) I got while talking to them. I felt happy, amazed, inspired and comfortable all at the same time.

So even though I'm tired from all this travel, I'm exceptionally glad that I'm meeting and having conversations with so many cultures and unique individuals and getting the chance to know more about my country and the people that live here. America is an amazing place. I don't know of any other country where you can see so many cultures each and every day. America represents every single country in the world. They're all here. Not a single country is missed and it's truly fascinating. I have 10 more flights coming this summer. I can't wait to see what they hold.

(disclaimer: I know I'm in an airport and that means more cultures all in one place. But in my daily life back home I ran into so many cultures on a regular basis as well. This kind of interaction doesn't have to be limited to airports.)

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