Monday, December 23, 2013

A guide to talking to strangers

When I was little, I was the shyest person on the planet. No joke. As in, "If you're not in my immediately family, I will not talk to you and will use my very best avoidance tactics to not interact with you." My kindergarten teacher had to social engineer a friendship for me (Her solution, by the way, was to pair me - the quietest kid in class - with a girl who was the most talkative kid in class. It totally worked. We were bffs throughout all of elementary school, complete with duo-nicknames that others gave us).

While I no longer dodge and weave every social scene, it still seemed that moving here (to a city where I knew about 3 people) would potentially be disastrous. Worst Case: I don't know how to talk to anybody! I become a hermit and embrace my solitude!

Well, as it turns out, I'm kinda chatty. Maybe that's what happens when you don't know anyone -- you'll talk to EVERYONE.

So here are four things I've learned about talking to random people when you're out by yourself:

  • Talk to strangers like you already know them: Skip over the whole uncertainty of being unfamiliar! Just start up conversations as if you already know each other. Introductions will work their way in somehow, anyways.
  • Assume people are going to be really rad: Sure, not every stranger you talk to is gonna be awesome and someone you'd talk to again. But it doesn't hurt to enter interactions with the assumption that the person is gonna be pretty cool. A lot of times, you end up having had an interesting conversation. And the times you don't? Read on...
  • You don't have to keep talking to that stranger: Did you end up in a conversation with someone you really don't want to talk to? No biggie, just stop talking to them! Don't worry about appearing rude. Besides, all conversations end eventually. Phase yourself out of the convo and if they don't get the hint, just start doing something else (i.e., ignore them completely). Have I done this? The answer is yes. YOLO.
  • Ask questions: I think I'm terrible at small talk, but I'm pretty good at asking questions (maybe it's because I'm used to asking my students lots of questions to explain their thinking, hahahah) & I definitely appreciate others' gifts of storytelling. And I've found that if you ask questions, people are pretty open to answering them. Everyone has a story, if you'll listen.

(That all being said, I still have a fear that the new people I talk to will potentially murder me. No one seems like the crazy murderous type, but this fear remains. Probably for the best. hahaha.)

P.S. Did you properly admire the Pikachu latte art by a baller barista? The bar has been raised, you guys. I will now always choose Pikalatte. Okay, just kiddin', I won't. That would probably be a good way to annoy every barista everywhere.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

"I will look back, I will hold fast to this"

In January and March, I was visiting Cambridge/Boston and the idea of moving to a new city was just an idea, and not even a serious one at that. 

In April, the idea became a bit more real when I sent out my résumé on a whim, and because Hey, an application is just an application. 

In May, I was back Boston, this time for an interview and the idea of moving was looking like an actual possibility. But I still was kinda thinking Hey, I'm just scoping things out. Nothing has to happen. 

A few days after that, I had a job offer. And a few days after that, I had to make a decision.
(january, march, may 2013; still just visiting cambridge & boston)

Which brings us to December. And it's so weird to look at my driver's license and instead of a California state license, it's Massachusetts (where they call the DMV the RMV instead). And in some ways, I'm transitioning into this new place just fine (I've got some "go-to" spots for groceries and coffee and what not). But in other ways, I'm still holding out (for example, after reading Yelp reviews, I've refused to try a new place to get a haircut and am definitely waiting til I get back to CA..hahaha). 

What does this mean? Well, I guess it goes to show that sometimes you have the opportunity for a change and even if you're not 100% sure it'll be the right decision, it probably isn't the wrong decision either. So go for it.  

Except if it has to do with your hair. Then stick with what you're familiar with, obvi. haha.

2013, you were some year. Let's get goin', 2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winding down 2013 and things to remember

A photo from January 2013, in Santa Cruz, CA. And here I am in December 2013.

Man, what happens in a year.