My friends know that I am not the most sociable person in the universe. In fact, people scare me. When I’m on my own, I usually just try to disappear and blend in, trying not to draw any attention to myself. But every once in a while, shit happens and I am forced out of my comfort zone and I end up talking to… PEOPLE. Besides, having spent the last 2 weeks in Oslo and Budapest, a place that hasn’t been taken over by Filipinos (yet), it was kind of impossible to blend in. But it was easy, though, to not be seen… especially when you’re so short and you’re out of everybody’s line of vision. Sometimes they’ll just notice you when you end up face first in their armpits.
So I managed to be brave on this trip (or maybe I was just too bored, only having myself for a company… I can be quite a bore) and met a couple of people who were actually very interesting.
1. Alex (yes, I remember his name) – Location: Oslo.
Found myself in some cafe (which was really a pub) after having walked 30 minutes from my hotel trying to find Grunnerlokka. I found it, but decided not to stay there because it was crowded. Cafe Tamara, a few minutes off the grid was where I decided to have a beer and finish my book in peace. Guy comes over to ask me about my Kindle and then he invited himself over for a chat. I was sociable for 2 hours, ladies and gentlemen! I was freezing, my lips were numb but I still managed to have a good conversation about doing laundry, the perks of travelling for work (me) , living on your own (me) vs living in your parents’ basement (him), having lived in a different country (him), tanning, and people wearing shorts in the freezing cold (it was 15deg in Oslo that time at 7pm). A friend of his joined us and surprise surprise, his friend’s mom works for the company that owns mine! Talked about getting a promotion through his friend’s mom. “Hey, met this cool Asian chick over at Tamara’s. She seems brilliant. Maybe you could get her a job here in Oslo,” was my spiel. Alex decided that it needed embellishment. “Yeah. Went home with the first guy she met.” I decided that it was time to exit after that. Guy was cute though.
2. American Guy with glasses and Simon the Australian Porn director (I actually have no idea what he does for a living but we decided that for that night, he was a porn director) - Location: Budapest.
These 2 I met (well I met them with another Simon who flew in from London to Budapest because he was a good travel buddy, but for the purpose of this blog post and emphasis on my bravery, let’s pretend I just met the rest of these people on my own while I was in Budapest) while having beers at a ruin pub near my AirBnB apartment on my first night on official vacation. I actually can’t remember how we got to talking but we ended up talking about good drunk grub, weirdest food in Manila, babies as a delicacy, how to recruit women and men for porn, and how Guys in Glasses Volume 1 would be a sure hit in the porn industry. We also talked about the worst superpowers a person can every have (e.g. being able to control rain, but you only get droplets) and not having plans at all. Guy in glasses was gonna go back to the US the day after, but will be back in Berlin for a job after a month. Simon, the porn director, has been on the road for months and has no plans of going back home anytime soon. I also learned never to call an Australian, dude. Of course, I called the Australian, “dude”, twice (even after being told not to do it). Force of habit.
3. Hungarian Girl and her Canadian boyfriend, Jordan – Location: Budapest
They were so cute together, my teeth hurt. They just met the night before I met them at Szimpla (another ruin pub) at girl’s cousin’s wedding. Jordan was there with his cousins and they got invited to the celebration. It was basically a meet cute. They asked if they could share the table and I said, yes of course. So I was the unwilling prop to their flirting. Soon enough, Jordan’s cousins joined our little group, along with this Norwegian guy who was sitting in the next table but decided to turn around and give away some Snus. Girl bought us a round of shots. Jordan was telling us about how he’s been on the road for 3 months, and ended up sleeping on a park bench in Oslo one time. He was a landscape architect so he felt right at home. We talked about how safe it was in Canada that he could leave his door unlocked with the keys in the ignition and still have his car there a month later. How these guys managed to get me on my feet and dancing to some random hipster song, I’m not sure. I blame the shots.
4. Submarine designer – Location: Budapest
The bar was about to close by the time this guy introduced himself. I think he was waiting for his friend, got bored and decided he’d talk to people instead. He was English (and cute, too). And then he said the 3 most wonderful words I’ve ever heard: “I design submarines.” Tell me that wasn’t amazing. Of course when he went into the details, like he does it using Excel, I kinda just started drifting off after that. In my head he was this really super cool engineer, with blue prints and shit. I forgot what else we talked about because I got stuck at submarines.
And then of course, there were the special mentions:
1. Guy who opened the door for me while I was at the Oslo office. He worked at the 2nd floor, I was going to the 3rd. Couldn’t get inside the building because you needed a keycard for that, so I ended up waiting for people to go in and I’d just sort of, slink in after them. He asked me about my work, he talked about his, and then that was it. He was just worth mentioning because he was cute and quite the gentleman.
2. Different guy who opened the door for me while I was at the Oslo office. I got stuck and couldn’t get out. Too many buttons! So he opened the door for me and shouted “You’re free!!” Hilarious.
3. Bartender in this random pub in Oslo I just happened to walk into who handed me my beer with a “here you go, love.” What a cutie.
4. Wait staff in Budapest who kinda felt sorry for me because I was on my own (it was a date place, apparently) and handed me my beer and dinner with a “enjoy, love.” And every once in a while asked me if “everything ok, darling?”.
It pays to be brave sometimes or at least in my case, forced out of my comfort zone.