We are created for connection.
It’s incredible how true this is and how I’ve learned it in my own life. Sometimes, often, I am blown away as I think about the opportunities I’ve been given to connect with different people in my short 21 years. It’s an amazing thing to travel to a foreign nation, learn new sounds and try your best to communicate, with an acquaintance or a stranger who has dwelled there for the entirety of his or her life; and here you are, stepping onto their soil for the first time in yours.
Yesterday I had to renew my visa and drove to Bayonne to the “sous-prefecture” to pull a ticket and wait for over an hour to then be denied due to various birth certificate validity issues. Not worth it.. but before my appointment as I was waiting, pacing, standing, checking the time, a family came in, they had a son that was maybe 3 years old, and they stood beside me in this crowded, large room. The little boy was goofing around in his stroller, and I smiled at his mother, who smiled at me, then at him, obviously just smitten with this son of hers.
“You are from Canada?” The mother said softly to me, noticing my array of documents.
“Yes!” I smiled.
“And where are you from?”
“We are from Syria.” She replied, smiling.
We chatted for the remainder of my time there. They had 2 more boys, and they had just gotten into France 2 months ago. They had been in Athens for over a year prior. This woman was so sweet, and her husband as well, so kind and gentle as he helped his wife remember certain English words she had forgotten.
After my appointment I said a quick goodbye as I exited the building and I felt tears stinging my eyes. Tears for this beautiful family that I got to connect with for just 10 minutes, but knowing they have been through so much to be where I stand on French soil.
To connect with people is one of the greatest gifts we have; and it can make a pointless trip to the prefecture deeply worth it in some mysterious way.