I have met a lot of new people in the last couple of months.
A lot of new and more than wonderful people. And that’s probably one of the things that I am most thankful for. Because all of them have taught me something and given me strength and shared their view on the world, their love and wisdom with me. I carry that with me, everyday. That’s one of those things no one can take from me.
Sometimes it was just really really interesting how I met those people.
The people I know here, I know from when I was back in school or through friends that I had back in school. There are only a few, that I met just like that and kept in touch with. Maybe one, or two-maximum.
I think the first new people that I met this year were Tomer and David. Two tourists from Israel, that I met while trying to figure out a way to Havana Vieja.
We walked around the whole city for about three days. They probably saved me from a mental breakdown ( that was back in the days when I thought that I was all alone, and only surrounded by a huge cemetery). They showed me the place where the “Mojito” was first invented and Ernest Hemingways favorite bar. Also the Hotel in which I met my dear friends from Spain a couple of days later.
Sadly Tomer and David left pretty soon to Mexico, but not without leaving me a map of Havana and an invitation to Israel. I just love having friends all over the world!
Meet my friend the goat baby in Morocco!
Then, soon after I was hanging around in that Hotel Inglaterra, waiting for Internet.
I was quite thirsty as I walked all the way down from upper Vedado down to Centro during the middle of the day. The Hotel was quite full and I was lucky to get the last free table. After ordering three (!!)drinks, I tried to relax and prayed that I could get one of the Internet Access cards. After some time every seat was taken and I was the only one with two free seats. So the two guys who had just entered the hall came to my table and asked if they could sit with me. Of course I said yes. We didn’t talk though, everyone was minding their own business. Until my three drinks (water, orange juice and mojito) came. And David asked if I was waiting for someone.
Mmh, that was embarrassing. Not only did I have zero friends in Cuba ( apart from my landlord who was 76 years old) but also was I thirsty like a horse and actually planned drinking all of that on my own.
And that’s when we started talking, even Pablo who was concentrating on his work, stopped to laugh at me.
I found out that they were musicians from Spain and also planing to stay in Cuba for quite a while (yaaay!). They had also come to the Hotel to get internet and that’s how internet connected us in quite a different way. Pablo shared his last thirty minutes of internet with me, and ever since the three of us strolled around Havana together.
These two are some of my favorite people ( probably of all times), and I think I could have never known Havana like that if I hadn’t met them.
I have to thank them for translating everything for me, teaching me Spanish, showing me some secret Cuban spots and introducing me to people everywhere.
Including the amazing Mileidi who taught me how to control crazy hair, and how to do some cool Salsa moves.
My dear friend and former roommate Aleks and I in New York! Another great person I was lucky enough to meet.
Another interesting story was, how I met Anosh.
We met that one night after I had bought half of the sweets I found in a French bakery. I was scared that the bakery wouldn’t be there anymore the next day and also was I craving for some European food and really sick of rice with beans.
It was when I decided to go home, instead of going to the Tango-night in the “El Ojo del Ciclon”.
I had eaten more than half of the sweets I had bought ( feeling a little bit sick and guilty to be honest) and was just about to leave to my favorite taxi spot when I heard someone behind me talking in Spanish.
I looked around and realized that I was the only possible person the voice could be talking to. So I turned around and that super tall guy was talking to me in such a quick Spanish that I probably looked like he was talking Chinese. After some time I realized that he was asking me for the directions to a place called O’Reilly’s, obviously thinking that I was Cuban. I explained him that I had an idea where this place was, but that I was German and not Cuban.
That’s when he told me that he wasn’t Cuban either, but that he was from Sweden. And that made the whole communication thing a lot easier.
Two hours later I found myself on a rooftop in O’Reilly’s with about 8 other tourists from all around the world.And two days later Anosh and I stood in the Cuban jungle, trying to figure out, where to get food and how to get home. I found a great new friend that night and we met again in New York.
I am still in touch with Anosh and some other people from that night.
The way I met Shabelina was also funny. I was working on some new articles in the Plaza, and visiting my friends over there, when that one girl with these really cool pants and amazing shoes stood up and came over to my table. She told me that she loved my pair of pants and so we started talking.
She had come from London to spend the weekend in New York with two of her brothers. Then we exchanged phone numbers and decided to spend the evening together.
We went to some Jazz-Bar that night, and I showed them some of the really cool, but less touristic spots in New York the other day. And I could enjoy the great British humor! I know, Americans are funny too, but I just love the dark humor of the British and also hey understand sarcasm so much better than Americans!
We are also still in touch.
Those are some of the stories of how I met people. Or how I found new friends when I really didn’t expect it.
What I have learned is, to be a little less “German” . Talk to people and actually try to keep in touch with them. Mileidi and I are still talking to each other, though for her, phone calls are a little more complicated than for me-so it can work.
Give people a little more than just the information you were asked for. Smalltalk isn’t hard and you can never have enough friends. I have found great friends and heard stories and I wouldn’t want to miss that.
How about you? How do you meet people?