Have a chat!


So what to say? It now three months we are back in Finland after so many years in Cambodia and the real impact of change starts to become more vivid just now. One main difference which is very easy to spot is the silence in public places, the soft noise in the streets where cars run modern engines that are almost noiseless. Then there is the silent and reserved character of the people. This is not so easy to take after years in a country where all these noises create a daily background that is part of life. Here (meaning Europe) is different and people keep things more to themselves. That is why it is not so easy to start a conversation with a stranger or also assist to conversation between people who speak the same language. This is the also enhanced by the fact that, for example, in the train many people now listen to mp3s that cut them out from the surroundings.
Three daisy ago I went to the laundry room of our blockhouse. It was 8 o’clock and met there a guy from Tanzania who was doing the morning cleaning. “Good morning”. “How are you?”. “Where are you from?” ” How long have you been here?” The usual questions with the usual answers about the long winter and the cold. The usual chat between foreigners. And being foreigners makes us foreigners all equal over here and therefore easy to start a small conversation. It helps to break the ice.
I left the laundry and on the way up to our flat I though about my conversation. It was good and reminded me of how easy was to talk with foreigner strangers in Cambodia. Over there the usual topic where the heat, development projects, Cambodian people. Easy because we were all in the same boat. Here the same. We foreigners in this country are all in the same boat. But at the same time I felt that there was something more.
Maybe it is me who does not make enough effort. Maybe it is me who should not assume that a Finnish person does not want to talk to a stranger. It is probably me who has to change a bit the attitude and see what happens.