Surprisingly the interaction with people who have no clue what you're saying brings me great joy! Let me explain. We arrived at a bus station in the Philippines after some random pointing in the general direction from a local child. Stage one complete. At the bus station we badly pronounced the name of the town we wanted to get to. Blank faces was the reaction. Ooookkkkaaayyy. I pronounced it badly again and the bus man replied which something that sounded vaguely familiar, I went with it! I started laughing at the awkwardness of it all, and so did he. Our friendship had started to blossom. He asked where we were from, and I replied Ireland. Blank face again. I said U2? Blank face. Westlife? Blank face. Roy Keane? Blank face. I did a little jig, Aaahhh he said Riverdance! More laughing ensued. I indicated I wanted to go to the shop before the bus left in ten minutes. He said No no and took me by the elbow towards a dark alley, eeeehhhh..... We arrived at a small restaurant that can only be described as being in someone's living room. I had the most delicious chicken curry for €1. I was worried the bus would leave so was eating fast, no no my friend said, the bus would wait! On our return to the bus, we hugged out our goodbyes, and I'd like to think we both left smiling that day.
For me these experiences are the most memorable. From trying to explain to street vendors that Sue likes a lot of spice in China and I only like a little to playing football with kids on the street in Nicaragua and the same kid calling you his amigo the next day. We once had a three hour bus journey on a local bus that was blaring westlife and boy band tunes. We sang along badly out loud surprising ourselves how many lyrics we remembered. The love for boy bands is universal however and soon the whole bus was singing along. We might not have been able to talk to each other but we could sing! I like to think our Irish sense of humour plays a big part. A smile goes a long way when no one has a clue what each other are saying. Connecting with someone who lives thousands of miles from where I'm from who has a different culture, a different religion, a different lifestyle, yet we are still able to find common ground and share a smile to me is a special feeling. We are all the same but different.