Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fully Automatic Friend Mode

I've been told more than once that I can make friends anywhere I go. It comes naturally to me. It's not a talent I had to work at to perfect, but it has always seemed odd to me that other people find it so hard to do. The question has also crossed my mind as to how fast I am at doing it. How long does it take me before I make a new friend in a place I've never been?

The answer, apparently is about 10 to 15 seconds.

On arriving at the SameSun Nations hostel in downtown Vancouver, Claire just wanted to drop the luggage and crash out for the night. At this point is was some time after 9pm local time and we had been up since 6am Irish time, some 32 hours previous according to our bodies. I had napped briefly on the plane, but Claire hadn't, so we got the key to our shared room, shifted several large bags up two flights of stairs and barged in on the current occupants.

It was at this point that Claire and I did two very different things. Claire said a quick hello to the others in the room, three guys of varying nationality, and left to seek out the bathroom, equipped with a random assortment of toiletries. I, on the other hand, camped out on the top bunk and turned my mouth and vocal cords to full auto.

By the time Claire returned, I knew who was in the room by name, where they were from and whether they were staying or leaving soon. The guy on the top bunk across from me was Will from Sydney and was just on the last leg of a trip around the US. He was flying out of Vancouver tomorrow for LA and then on to Sydney after a short stopover. Below his bunk was Jeon from China who had very little English, referred to Claire as my "honey" and grew stranger and stranger over the following days, much to the amusement of myself and third guy in the room.

Sam had just arrived from the UK the same day, but on a different flight. Like us, he was staying for a year and hoping to find work in or around the city. We got chatting for a bit and when Claire decided that she couldn't stay awake any longer, the three English speaking guys headed downstairs to the bar to continue our conversation. I bought the first round of drinks, which ended up being a glass of water for Will, who was travelling early the next day and still recovering from his last night out in Vancouver, a 7-Up for Sam and a coke for myself. Seriously. What are the chances that me, being a lifelong teetotaler would happen upon two guys that, at least for that evening, were staying on the soft stuff as well?!? Insane! Sam offered to buy the next round, before we discovered that we get free refills on minerals, and at that hour, two large glass fulls were enough. He promised to make it up to me the following evening.

We wandered back up to the room shortly before midnight, snuck in as quietly as possible and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning all three of us were downstairs enjoying breakfast, and letting Will fill us in on things to do in Vancouver.

I miss Ireland. I miss my friends terribly. The first Sunday here was particularly hard as I realised I couldn't be at our weekly breakfast meet-up, or hang out and chat about the stuff we watched, or read online, or whatever. But I love making new friends, and I know I have the chance to make loads here. After I finish writing this, I'm heading to our local gaming store just a few blocks away to join in their boardgame night and hopefully make even more. I've already spent over an hour chatting with the staff about games and comics.

I think I'm going to be alright.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you replacing us all ready?
-Ninja Dave