“The waffle is on me”, the waiter of the airport cafe couldn’t even imagine that some minutes later he would become the hero of my column.
The feeling I wanted to write on this long night was completed by him. I was persuading myself that the reason I am just procrastinating and not writing is tiredness. Because I have chosen the transit flight. It is cheaper. Besides, saving has become a new profession for me as a volunteer over this last year. And suddenly… Wow, a free waffle in the expensive homeland of waffles…
The Belgian waffle with a cup of morning coffee combined with the airport crowd is not only a pleasure but also it is worth to be put on the sweet memory shelf. He could have guessed that I was going to buy only coffee and was just curious to know the price of the waffle, since I asked very casually. I overwhelmed my bag with too many sweets and still have to save up for my Catalan trip (the profession speaks).
Before going closer to the café I was thinking how small people feel themselves in such cities. Some months ago I would walk around Brussels as well and explored the city by myself. People were so different and numerous. You don’t know anybody and if you are lost or feel bad, nobody would notice.
However, I might be noticed now, after the long night here I feel at home. In the morning I even wanted to greet everyone who had to sleep on that cold floor just like me. Sure, this nice black girl sitting next to me would also notice my disappearance, we have already gotten closer and started taking care of each other.
All these travel and sweet situations begin at the end of your comfort zone, once you stop your everyday life and go to meet strangers.
Fight your fears that strangers are “strange”ers, hence, they are dangerous. Even in this multinational and “terror city” Brussels an unknown waiter is paying for my waffle. Now I just want to remember who among my European acquaintances has made such a big step.
So many friends I made during this last year just through being hosted or hosting strangers. Indeed, it is dangerous to sleep at a stranger’s flat whom you have just met on CouchSurfing.com, or host an unknown person. With some of them you could even get so close that you would fill your friend list. Moreover, even hitchhiking, an adventure that most people perceive as very dangerous, can lead to newly found love. Really, a friend of mine met her future boyfriend by hitchhiking. However, I have never liked the guy, I am not the one going to kiss him.
Just look, all your friends, even the old ones initially were strangers to you as well. Perhaps the only difference was the destination, you met them in your country or just inside of your comfort zone.
Believe me, it makes life easier if you think this way. You feel comfortable everywhere and you are open to meet all strangers. By the way, agree that nationality also does not matter in this case. For example, is it really important to know from where the waiter paying for my waffle is? Nonetheless, if I had met him in my country, I could also have given him the Armenian sweet pakhlava. But now I couldn’t even manage to say the last goodbye, in some hours his co-worker is already standing in the same place.
Amalie Khachatryan is a journalist at Mediamax.