Making friends

… or our day with Bob and Susan

Germans cannot small talk. Many visitors to Germany have remarked upon it (, e.g.) and it’s true. Luckily this family comes with a little chatterbox who makes introductions for us. In Granada Anton picked up Bob and Susan from Ontario, Canada.
Our small talk started at the pool in the morning and ended sometime after 10pm after too much white wine on my part.
It started like it always does

Where are you from? Where are you travelling, how long, etc?

But Bob and Susan had so much to tell (and since we have no sense for small talk we kept asking and engaging them in more serious talk like education, religion, job, having your own business, you know the light stuff) that it filled the morning and lunch easily and so we made a dinner date. It’s fun to meet people from all over the world and talk about their different reasons and ways of travelling. Many of them we meet get the same reaction we got when we started telling friends and family that we are planning this trip:

You are so brave (we could never do that).

Sure you could! It involves money (maybe you need to save up and/or live differently), but you certainly don’t have to be a millionaire, it needs organisation (work, home, day care, etc.), it might even mean to change jobs in order to do it. I think in most cases it’s a point of how much you want it (I am fully aware that I am talking about people in my social circle who thankfully have no trouble caring for their basic needs, not someone with minimum wages who has trouble putting food on the table). Travel is a beautifully educating luxury.
Bob told us that the first time he took off to travel was 1969/1970 and the place to go then was Europe – cheap for Americans and Canadians, super interesting and he gave us a different view of our country and others in Europe through travellers eyes back then (he has his notes on this travels on his web page).
I really hope he and Susan will do the Europe/Germany trip again and come visit, since we are bad on small talk but good on making friends we hope they come and see Berlin with us.


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