Another story about a stranger


Meet James! A proud grandfather of a grandson and a granddaughter who’s been traveling to different states because of his work in refinery. I met him on my way to Cincinnati. Right when I saw him sitting next to me, I have a feeling this is gonna be another interesting flight. I started saying: “Hi, how are you?” He gave me a warm smile and replied my greeting. That’s when I know it’s gonna be a fun flight. Every now and then, when the situation feels right, I start a conversation with new people. I think it was my 2013 resolution and so far everything has been going great. I know I should keep up the good work in 2014.

We talked about Mississippi, his job and sometimes he took his phone out of the pocket and showed me the pictures of his family or the fish he caught or his trailer and truck. The other time he’d let me looked outside his window when he explained about Ohio river or power house. He said he meets new friends through Yahoo! Messenger! Sometimes a new message or a ‘buzz’ will pop up in his laptop window asking how he’s doing. He gave me a compliment once, which makes me blush because it’s always good to hear people notice something about me.

When I shared my concern about marriage, he said “You are young! You shouldn’t be worried about marriage. You will find that person when the time and the place is right and everything will be perfect.” In James’ opinion, one shouldn’t get married before he/she sees what’s out there and enjoy life. Well, I said “that’s why I am traveling”

At the end of our trip, we have to bid goodbye because I am leaving for New York and he’s off to Philadelphia. I took a selfie of us, we shared contact numbers and I gave him a tight hug while he’s wishing me a great time in New York. Before I boarded my plane, he sent me a text message “if something happens let me know, I will come to see you down there” It was really nice just to hear that.

I landed in JFK Airport around 6pm and the view from the plane was amazing. Bright city lights! Golden was the color. I listened to Sara Bareilles’ album inside the Subway and felt really close to her. I was too tired to absorb the energy of the city, but I am amazed of how diverse and huge this city is. I met different strangers who helped me get to my hostel; a kind airport security who walked me to the AirTrain to Jamaica Station‪, a sweet Subway lady who helped me get the Metro Card, a guy name Robert who showed me how to get train #1 from Penn Station, he even let me use his monthly metro pass so I can save the credit in my card (how kind he was!!), another random guy who can’t speak English well but walked me to my hostel at Amsterdam Ave and a cute guy at the lobby who helped me to my room (because the hostel is a maze!) Ranie even made sure that I know where to go so she guided me through my phone. Things are so good today. I spent the morning with a person I adore and care so much. I got to New York and my hostel with the help of so many people. I feel so blessed. Thanks, Lord. My New York journey begins today. I just need to stay warm because the weather has been terrible. I pray for guidance and protection. Amen <3


I am always amazed of what happen when I start talking to new people. There was a funny thing today on my flight to Minnesota, a girl was sitting next to me in the airport waiting for boarding time. Well, we were busy doing our stuff so we didn’t talk. The same girl sat next to me on the plane.

We found it funny and then we started talking for almost the entire flight. We shared many stories; about how she met her husband, about her study in Communications, about an online relationship, about her dream to be a soprano, about her love of Disney movies, her dream of finding her own prince and that she was born in Saudi Arabia. She’s a hopeless romantic! Her eyes sparkles when she told me about the marriage proposal. It screams boundless happiness. I found her naive for believing in love. At the same time, it gives me hope though. She told me that love comes when you least expect it. That’s how she met her husband. It’s like a fairytale when I heard it. It gives me joy to listen to stories so different to mine.

Another person sitting next to me is a Palestinian taking a PhD in Pediatric Behavior Health. She wears hijab and read Quran almost the entire flight. She complains about how people treat her differently because she’s wearing hijab. She was asking for my new year’s wish. I told her I wanna get married in 2014. She said, I’ll pray for you.

People are beautiful when you get a chance to know them and listen to their stories. I am glad I have a courage to start the conversation and see people unfold. Travel actually gives me a chance to know myself better. Sometimes I find it easier to talk to strangers because they do not know the story of my life and have no frame-of-reference or whatsoever about how my life is. As a result, they are more open-minded and easy to talk to. They don’t judge me or give me a hard time. They don’t tell me what to do. I do miss this kind of human connection; one that enriches my soul.

On another note about stranger, the event in the beginning of 2014 makes me realize that some things are not meant to be. I hold on to it for as long as I could, it’s been 4 years now. I found it so disappointing and heart-breaking at the same time. It’s when all the hopes just suddenly vanish into thin air. It’s like losing ground and I feel off-balance. I cried and started hating the situation, but I promise myself not to life with regrets or what-ifs. This is something I must do and I just need to have the courage to accept the truth and be true to myself. It’s no longer time to deny my own happiness. I want to be someone’s first choice. I need to step up and find happiness somewhere else. I pray this will not be the highlight of my year. I want to believe that someone somewhere is also longing for me. I am missing you so much, stranger. You are still a mystery to me. Let’s meet!