Never Met a Stranger

My momma always said: “Wherever you went, you never met a stranger” (there, got the Forrest Gump reference out of my head and potentially yours). She was absolutely right in this statement, I often strike up conversations with random people I meet, no matter where I am. I love to have someone to talk to, some of my friends I’m sure would claim I like having someone to talk AT, but i assure you that is not the case. (talking a lot doesn’t mean i don’t want return talking as well).My favorite example of this trait in me: When I was I think 9, I met a boy on the beach of a small Florida town, about 2 years later, I met him again. We both had relatives in the town (it’s heavily older retired folks) but I met a random kid, and years later we ran into each other again AND recognized each other. ANYWAYS, this article is to those strangers I have met here in NZ, and the fun I had with them. I admit, I don’t remember most of their names, comes from chatting for less than an hour and not being strong with names.

First is the one I saw on a semi-regular basis, so I guess she doesn’t count, but it’s my blog so I’ll talk about her: Teresa. Teresa is another intern in the Globalinks program in Wellington. However, her program is very different than mine. First off: she arrived in the country 2 weeks before the rest of us and didn’t have an orientation weekend. I really don’t envy her for that, but there is a method to her madness. This past week, she left for Australia to do a term in a University there, so she had to arrive early to get in 6 weeks before school picked back up. Ok, enough stalker-ish info.¬† I don’t know if the two of us would have ordinarily been friends, but that’s part of making friends with strangers. More importantly, we were both Americans. It’s just really nice to being able to quickly relate on background, current situation, etc. So we hung out from time to time, grabbing meals, went to the zoo, little things. Teresa was sadly my only consistent friend thus far, guess I need to promote one of my acquaintances. Have fun in Australia, the land where everything can kill you!

Next “friends” of note are Katja and Steffi, from Cologne, Germany. I only met them this past weekend on a bus ride north to Whangarei. I admit, I’m surprised that my ice-breaker actually gave them reason to chat with me, I recognized that they were conversing in German, and said so (clever, right?). The three of us chatted on the 2-3 hours on the bus to our stop. Conveniently they were staying at the same hostel as me that night, so I continued to hang out with them for the remainder of the day. They are quite lovely, and I enjoyed their company. We didn’t have a terrible amount of common ground, so much of our conversations was back story and talking about New Zealand. Their English was impressive, they could keep up with me even at my ridiculous speaking pace :P . Steffi said she enjoyed the practice/challenge and appreciated that I didn’t overly simplify my vocabulary for them (slightly degrading I’d imagine). I gotta say, Europeans amaze me with their knowledge of the English language, it’s really easy to forget that they don’t speak it normally, though with Steffi and Katja it was easier to remember because they still spoke to each other in German. Trip is just starting for you two, so I hope it continues to be amazing!

NEXT! ACTORS! I only did one week of work on the set with Martin Square, but in that time i was able to make friends with a few of the actors, Ben and Charley. Charley is one of the MANY street performers in Wellington, his weapon of choice is beatboxing, particularly dubstep. Ben, not sure what he does, but he too loves making movies. He even tried to get my most recent script off me to get it made with him and his friends in Auckland. I politely declined, I want to shoot “Stuffed Giraffe” myself. I fear I’m becoming one of those guys who doesn’t want to trust another director with his scripts. I connected with them both (separately) mostly over a mutual love of movies. That seems to be my standard way to bond these days, group ranting about movies. It’s so easy for me, and SO many people love movies that it’s often a good choice. I say that, but then I instantly think how it’s kinda funny that all my friends at TU really AREN’T movie people (Joey and Lydia, my movie pals, aren’t AT TU at this point). Boys! keep making awesome movies!

In the same vein, but different location, is Chris. I met Chris while killing time in Martinborough (small wine town) while waiting for my bus. Chris is from England, I feel like I’ve met a lot of transplanted Brits here. He’s in acting school, talking with him was so simple, able to (once again) ramble on about movies. However, there was a nice change of pace: not only did he ramble back, but with the same amount of passion for the art, not just the entertainment. He recommended I watch Human Traffic, a British movie I’ve never heard of, but I trust his taste enough to give it a try. See you at the Oscars sir!

Now i get into the short mentions of those that didn’t stick quite as thoroughly in my mind. My two friends from my Poor Knights Island dives (I can’t believe i can’t remember their names since it was only yesterday since I last saw them). One (a lady) is from San Diego, but has lived in this part of the world for about 18 months. The other (a guy) is from Denmark, he said that he’s soon going to Asia. Once again we chatted about movies and background, and of course: diving. Next is the couple i met in a Japanese restaurant¬† on Valentine’s Day, we talked mostly about the sights in both NZ and the US. I hope i didn’t spoil their dinner together, but they insisted it was a pleasure to chat. Last one that sticks out in my mind are Zach and Sami (sorry about spelling). I also met them on Valentine’s Day, but instead this was when i was returning to my flat. We chatted for about 5 minutes, starting with me pointing out how his shoe was untied at a crosswalk. Once again, film was my ally, they are Journalism students, avid film people too.

The nice thing about meeting strangers is I can have the same conversation topics with little trouble. Telling stories and talking about movies are the easiest topics for me, for them to always be fresh conversation is great. In NZ it’s even easier, everyone starts by asking where I’m from and what do I do back in the states. It’s great to have a pal to just pass the time with. Don’t be afraid to say hi to people on the street, how bad can it be if they don’t want to talk? With that I’m off. Hasta Luego!

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