I made a new friend today. Well, sort of...
Here's the deal: after my morning runs, I like to stretch at the make-shift playground that's right in front of my apartment building. Now mind you, as it is in most places around this country, I am far from alone. My company usually includes grandmothers who can kick their toes to their nose drill-team style and other such folk who are in the mood for a morning workout.
When I show up, I can create quite a stir among the crowd. They like to talk to me, (talk about me is more accurate) and comment on how great my language is.
(A short aside...They don't really mean it. They really and truly say it to everyone. You can open your mouth for .5 seconds, say hello in local language, and they'll go on for a while about how great your language is. Anyone of you could do it too. Promise. So seriously, I'm not bragging in the slightest.)
There are some regulars out on my playground. It's hard for me to remember their names all the time because...well...they're just so foreign. But I remember their faces! I saw one such friend this morning and remembered her immediately. She is a quiet, mousy sort of woman. She's around 30 years old and not married (which I've been told labels you as strange in this culture).
I wanted to be super sweet to her today, so I try to strike up a conversation involving the ever-titilating topic of the weather. She gives me a cursory response and then flips herself upsidedown on the monkey bars, immediately sending me on a nostalgia trip to good ol' North Oaks Elementary School recess. Trying desperately to resist my childish desires to tug at her ponytail or tease her for wearing a bra, I press on in my small talk. Our topic this time: Father's Day.
This topic whips her into more of a verbal frenzy, which would seem like a good thing but I guess after my third or fourth blank stare, she decides that something must be done to help my listening comprehension. So she positions herself about six inches from my face and starts addressing me in a rather loud voice.
After enduring a bit of this, I politely excuse myself to go home for a shower (humid weather + morning runs = necessary shower). Once I enter my building, I decide I need to take some risks in making friends. I mean, how am I going to meet people and build real friendships if all I talk about is the weather and holidays? So I march myself back up to her and ask her if she wants to come over for lunch sometime. I think I embarrassed her but she ended up saying yes.
When Gigi came over later, I told her what I did and she affirmed that I most likely embarrassed the chick. Oops. I also confessed to Gigi that I've forgotten my friend's name, but now Gigi is conspiring how to subtly re-discover her name and write it down for me.
Our lunch is later this week, so we'll see how it goes...