People were often surprised that I knew my neighbors/the names of some people who stayed in my building when living in New York City. One became a close friend (we were often mistaken for sisters as we went about town together).
The other set became my de facto parents.
Thus, before moving to Venezuela, people kept saying I would make friends in no time because I was outgoing and friendly. I always remained politely silent when people said this because I don’t view myself as outgoing. I have to work at speaking to people I don’t know. It’s actually semi-painful for me to have to make small talk. I would rather sit in silence.
One day this week I was feeling down, borderline depressed, and isolated. I was about to call it a night when my doorbell rang. Not knowing who it was, it was a pleasant surprise to find that a neighbor had brought me brownies.
My doldrums were immediately lifted.
I think I was standoffish and a little rude to my neighbor because I was surprised, trying to get my Spanish together, and relieved that someone was thinking about me all at the same time.
I made sure to send him and his family an e-mail thanking them for their kindness because they gave me fortitude just when I felt like breaking.
They gave me happiness when I was feeling sad.
They gave me a little reminder of why I love traveling: because people are good no matter where you go and there’s always someone willing to give you a little something to make you feel welcome.