Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making Friends and Giving Hugs

As I was walking down the street with some other foreigner friends today, we ran across a happy chinese fellow that spoke to us in English.  He said, "Hello!  I am happy to meet you!"  We said hello back, and told him we were also happy to meet him.  The other three people walked on a few steps, but the man was still talking to me, so I lagged behind.  Suddenly he put both arms out on each side of him and motioned toward me with his head.  I looked at him, unsure of what he was trying to say.  Then I realized he was asking me to give him a hug.  It was all so comical, and he was so happy-go-lucky.  I suddenly remembered the Guru in India whose mission in life involves giving out hugs to people.  I thought, "What the heck, why not?  My hugs are free." and I reached over and gave him a hug.  He hugged me like I was a long lost friend!  As I turned to leave I said in english, "Free hugs".  I don't know if he understood, but it made me smile.  

As we were getting ready to get on the bus to go home, I suddenly felt really hungry and asked my friend if she minded waiting while I stopped for something to eat.  There was a noodle shop right near by, so I went in and ordered a small bowl of noodles.  She sat and waited while I picked up my food.  When I came back to the table, I saw that one of the employees was standing over her looking at her.  She was watching everything my friend did.  In China, it isn't bad manners to stare, and she stared as much as her little eyes would let her.  I sat back down with my food, but hadn't been sitting long when the woman who cooked it called out to me.  I had noticed my food was lacking something, but until then I didn't realize that she had forgotten to add the meat.  The curious employee came over and took my noodles back for me.  Then she carefully delivered them to me with the meat added.  

While we were eating I noticed her watching everything we did.  She was really cute.  She seemed so interested in every movement.  It was almost like watching someone watching an interesting program on television.  As we got ready to leave, she jumped up and came over and sat right beside me.  She said, "I saw on television that foreign friends eat soybeans.  Is that right?"  She was so adorable the way she leaned in listening intently to everything I said.  She was a plump, round faced woman in her late 30s.  I told her that in America we don't really eat soybeans like they do in China.  We drink cow milk instead of soy milk.  We don't eat very much tofu.  I explained that we eat other kinds of beans, as well as noodles, bread, rice, potatoes, and other things.  She seemed so interested in everything I said.  I love that her curiosity was greater than her shyness.  So cute.

So I made two new friends today.  And I got a hug from one of them.  And the other had a nice conversation with me.  I don't remember ever having that kind of experience in America.


Grannymar said...

I find that if I am open to meeting people, they come and chat to me. I have yet to be hugged by total strangers>

Nene said...

In the 2nd paragraph I thought you were going to tell us that when you went to buy your food, you discovered the guy that hugged you had picked your wallet. :0) Glad that wasn't the case! Cute story, but you are a bit braver than me.

Rummuser said...

You should travel in India. You will be overwhelmed with strangers wanting to chat with you.

Maxi said...

Sounds as if you made some nice friends, D. Although I can say that I have enjoyed more that one friendly encounter with people here in America, have had wonderful experiences.
Blessings ~ Maxi

Amber said...

that is so cute! I think that is how the Chinese get away with staring without being rude about it, because they have such sweet natures, you know that they mean no harm. :)