Monday, March 24, 2008

It really is a small world

The first time I went to DisneyWorld, something magical happened (so cliche' - but I'm for real!). I went with my friend C and her family. We were waiting in line to ride "It's A Small World" and C and I decided to pass the time playing hand games. Well, we were only 2 and we quickly ran out of 2-person hand games, so we tried to play "Rockin' Robin" (if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you really missed out in childhood - I'll be happy to teach you next time I see you), but you actually need 4 people to play "Rockin' Robin". So, we just pretended we were 4.

Well, there was a family behind us from some Spanish-speaking country and it just so happened, those 2-girls pantomimed to us that they new "Rockin' Robin". There was a language barrier, we don't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English, but we used hand gestures to figure out who was going to do which part. The four of us played Rockin' Robin twice, with them singing their Spanish version. After we finished, everyone in line clapped and cheered. We were raised in different countries, didn't speak the same language, and probably had a 10-15 year age gap between us, but we found something we had in common and built on that, if only for 10 minutes. It sounds cheesy (especiallly since this happened at DisneyWorld), but that remains one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me.

Friday, something similar happened to me. I was in the doctor's office waiting room (blah!) and there was a young Dominican boy there with his mother. An older Chilean man sat across from him. The man was trying to engage the little boy in conversation, but naturally, they didn't understand each other - neither spoke English very well. After a few minutes of trying, the man would ask the boy a question in Spanish and the boy would answer in a mix of Spanish and whatever his native language is. I understand a bit of Spanish (now!), so I could tell they were communicating, but it was amazing to see how they adapted and somehow made it work, despite the language barrier. They were still chatting away in one and two word exchanges when I left the waiting room.

My point is, it really is a small world, and we probably have more in common than we don't. All it takes is a desire to reach out and a bit of patience and understanding. I have fallen in love with America all over again, because I have a sneaky suspicion that this kinds of things happen here a million times a day because of our diverse population. I think that's great!



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