Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Australian I Met on the Other Side of the World

When I was a child, I would go to bed and think about China. I would think that as I lay in bed, they're probably on a chair, at school or work.  Here I was, about to sleep, putting whatever worries I had during the day to bed. And the Chinese were already up battling their demons. I felt a little bad for them. I wanted them to be sleeping too. So I stayed awake for a few minutes. My room looked dark and the light from the street lights coming in made the various objects on my counter cast large shadows. Moisturizers, containers, and picture frames. I was scared. I wished I was in China, where the sun's light was already seeping through the windows. Half of the world was already buzzing. Like being first in line. The first person doesn't know what to expect. But the second person is a little at ease.

(To China!)

I couldn't sleep one night about a year ago.  So I went on the internet and looked up videos of my favorite cartoon as a kid. I hadn't watched it in so long. Dragon Ball Z. YouTube only had clips, so I had to look elsewhere. I googled "dragon ball z episodes" and found a site that had them all. Along with the videos, you could also chat with people watching them, but you needed an account. I didn't get one right away, but eventually I did. The chat wasn't part of the website. It was from some other website that was embedded into it. So if you had an account, you could talk to other people, not just the ones looking at the DBZ videos.

It was winter and I again couldn't sleep. I only had one cover and I was freezing. My house is always cold for some reason. I grasped my feet to keep them warm. I buried my nose into my pillow and breathed out to make it warm. I grabbed my laptop and went online again. More Dragon Ball Z because I'm such a dork. But, out of curiosity, I went into the main chat site that I had my account on. Chat sites are scary places. It's like walking into a masquerade party. People hide who they really are. They dance with complete strangers. They fall in love with them too. They don't like who they are in real life, so they start over. Maybe they're wearing an ugly sweater of shame. You could be from Mars if you wanted to. I have terrible experiences from using chat sites, but that's for another post. I saw this girl from Australia there. She was beautiful. Golden blonde hair and the nicest smile. So of course, I started talking to her.

(Waking up in the middle of the night is the worst!)

I was surprised that she was a really nice person. I immediately had a crush on her. Because that's how stupid I am. That's how I'm programmed. But it was just that. I didn't think much of it. She was in some distant country frolicking with the kangaroos I thought. But I saw her as a friend. I saw her as a stranger. And we met in the middle of this enormous outback called the internet. I have to admit, it's weird. I still think it's weird. Meeting someone online. But anyway, she was a triplet with two brothers. Her parents were divorced. I learned  a lot about Australia. And I told her about Chicago.

The world is huge. It's scary. I'm afraid to be alone. I like having friends to lean on when I'm limping. So Molly, if I ever get stranded in Australia for some wild reason, please make me feel not alone. Often, the friends you remember the most are the ones you don't expect. The ones who say the least. The ones who you used to hate. Or the ones who are on the other side of the world.

(Molly from Australia)

Every night I couldn't sleep I would meet her there. Everyone asleep. But it was daytime in Australia. Winter here and Summer there. I found it weird how they could have Christmas in the Summer, where over here, Christmas is characterized with snow and mittens and hats. Snowmen. But I thought about it. Seeing all of the Christmas decorations in the Summer sounds great too. Imagine walking through the city on a Summer day and seeing Christmas lights and colorful spheres. Decorated trees and bells. She showed me pictures of Sydney. The Opera House looked amazing. She thought my interest in Australia was a little odd.

They call McDonald's "Maccas" while we say "Mickey D's." I can't imagine myself saying Maccas. It's like it's a whole other world. Everything seems backwards over there. The snow they step on is warm and next to the ocean. Their snowmen are castles.

I'm glad I met her. A couple of years ago, I had never even seen an Australian. I'm glad I've met all of the wonderful people in my life so far. I'm glad for hearing all of their great stories. And I wonder about all of the people I haven't met yet. About that mysterious force that brings two strangers together, even if their lives are completely different. Like looking out your window at three in the morning and seeing a lonely car drive by. Catching it just at the right moment by chance.

christmas tree Sydney Australia
(Christmas tree in Sydney. Looks like it's gonna rain haha.)

Molly, thanks for being that car while I looked out the window. I was getting a glass of water. I'm glad I ran after you and told you stop. You were probably scared to roll down your window since it was three in the morning. And even though you could have pressed the gas pedal and leave me on the street, you didn't. You gave me a ride along Australia. And you dropped me off at my house and got my mind off China. I hope one day you get out of the car though.

You meet people you don't expect. You meet strangers on the other side of the world. Meet as many people as you can. Learn from them. And keep an open mind. Strangers have a way of smoothing out even the roughest stones. So go to sleep. Don't worry. One day, we will all sleep at the same time. At eleven at night. We will agree on that time. There will be no Eastern time or Western time. Just time. The only shadows will be those of another time. A simpler time. A more hectic time. And we will all say Merry Christmas in the morning. With snow under our feet. Yet our feet wont be cold.


Have you ever met someone you didn't expect?

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