Usually when we travel, just the two of us, we rarely make a big effort to meet people.  Probably it stems back from the days of three kiddos at home, making the effort once a year to get away just the two of us and we just wanted to spend the time catching up and being together. A very good friend of ours who’s family we used to go to Camp Michigan with said it like this, “Why would I want to make the effort in a relationship that I knew was going no where when the trip was over?” and that maybe sums up why we usually keep to ourselves  when we’re away, well that and we really just wanted to focus on one another since we had a whole week to ourselves without interrupted conversations or the tasks of our daily lives.

    Well, recently we were away and we broke that rule for very good reason as we met two very nice couples who I know we will be in touch with.  Each unique in their own way as a couple, a couple a little older than us with a few more grandchildren and miles on their odometer and a couple more our age, soon to have a first grandchildren but basically at the same point in life a few years or so.  We had a few dinners together with these very special people and what fun it was to hear about THEIR lives where they live, their life experiences and what laughs at the funny phrases and stories of kids and extended families.  A couple days before our departures, I said to the Hubby, “Usually, I’m ready to go, but this time, after meeting these really fun and very special people, I’m sad to go.”  He commented that I had not said that before.

Our recent trip was a trip like no other we have taken before, because of many factors, most notably, the good company we had.

    As we were talking during dinner one night with one of the couples, as were were getting to know one another talking about what we did, what our lives were like, my book came up and the husband of one of the couples said, “so tell me about your book Mary Yana, I know some people in the business of cookbooks what type of food is in your book?”  I paused for a second, and I think of the whole “Elevator Pitch” lesson, keep it short and to the point in just a few seconds, we’re all on vacation, what is of interest to me, just maybe not of interest to others. “Really, it’s more than food, as it’s about the people around the table, they are the most important.”  The discussion went on and the husband said that he liked that, and he thought that was a unique idea.  I started to describe the  buttercup yellow and cobalt blue and how pleased I was even these three years since it’s publication and there is nothing I would change about the book.  It was then that my husband took over and said one of the nicest things I think he has ever said about me (paraphrasing here now).  He went on to describe the meals at home and how I make the table look pleasing and this is what I’m talking about, “I am the luckiest guy on the planet, I get to enjoy all those delicious meals and the nicely set tables.”

I like making it all taste good and look good as well. It's all part of the fun.

    We spent time with these couples aside from dinners and it was fun.  It was nice to meet people who found humor in the same things, who had been through some similar experiences who we could equally share joyous occasions and tough times we all had gotten through.

    There are several lessons here and take-aways here.  First, sometimes it’s good to get out of your own self and strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.  That takes some confidence as other may not be at a time in their life or be comfortable themself with sharing or like our family friend, be willing to invest some time with people they may not see again and that’s fair.  It also takes some sizing up of a situation, paying attention to body language and clues that someone may or may not be interested in talking.  Things like someone not asking you questions or inviting conversation. For example, if someone has earbuds they may not want to be disturbed and this is their time.  Secondly, it takes an effort to put yourself out there to meet people.  It may or may not be the time to do that.  Hearing about someone else’s experiences makes you realize that you are not the only one who has the ups and down of like.  If the company you are conversing with is from another state or country, you learn that problems and the stories of life are similar just in a different location.  Thirdly, when you meet someone new, you can learn from them and to hear their experiences may inspire you to go somewhere new or try something you may have not tried before from a different food, wine or a new place to travel to.  One of the gals I met, had the most beautiful color of lipstick on, a MAC color called St. Germaine.  It looked stunning on her.  Even though our hair color is different I will be ordering St. Germaine and I will think of her when I wear it and the memories we made together all four of us.  Both couples inspired me to want to read new books, see a new movie and plan a few trips to places i have not seen.  Lastly, it’s interesting to hear your spouse describe you and your experiences you both have had and to hear something from their perspective that you may have thought but have not heard, like the Hubby’s comment about our dinners at home.  That was nice.

    The challenge for you this week, should you accept it, is to step out of your norm.  Invite a conversation with someone you do not know.  Of course be smart about how you do this.  The person you may engage with may not be open to that, but even if you end the encounter, either short or long, wish them a great day.  Or, maybe there is a new or new to you neighbor, person in your spin class or at Church or Synagogue that you smile at, maybe you know there name but you know little else.  Maybe you meet them for coffee yourself or as a couple for happy hour or dinner.  It may or may not go anywhere or you may just have your self a new friend or two and YOU may be inspired to read a new book, watch a new movie or catch a documentary on your streaming platform of choice.  You see, really, it’s more about the people around the table than the food…Always.  And it’s a Great Day!