I hope to capture and honour the short interactions I have with strangers in this series. All too often we are so focused on the destination we don’t enjoy the journey (cheesy I know)… but it is true! There is something to be said about examining and engaging with one’s surroundings - Many of these interactions took place in transit. I have no doubt that I can learn something from everyone. These short and sweet stories remind me of how beautiful life is, how tiny we really are and how important connection to others is in this world of truly dizzying speeds. 

01: Sharing walnuts and oranges over stories of war

October 4th, 2022 - In transit, UK - Train from West Wales to London

I sat next to a woman named Tanya from Ukraine, she came here with her daughter a few months ago when the war started, she was a teacher but now works to place other refugees in employment. She was eating walnuts, the big ones that you have to crack! she gave me one and I gave her an orange. We talked about the war, Canada, and her family. Her nails were yellow and blue - she was so strong. 

02: A kiss that toppled her over

October 7th, 2022 - In transit, UK - Bus from Kings Cross to Kentish Town

I was on the bus and the cutest little girl just brushed by to get off (she must be 4) and she looked up at me and waved and then when she got off she waved again and said bye and then blew a kiss, then she fell over from blowing the kiss too hard.

03: Red leather at 16:00

November 11th, 2022 - In transit, UK - Chalk Farm tube station 

I sit down to wait for the tube and beside me is an older woman. She has a large suitcase with her, wearing all black with a red leather purse and matching high boots. We sit in silence for a bit until the clock hits 14:00, she turns to me and says in a Nigerian accent “I’ve missed my train.” I ask when it is leaving - she asks what is 14:00. I say 2 pm she says it left at 2 pm. She remains calm. Almost like a “well that sucks” attitude. She asks if I think she will be able to change her ticket … it’s time-stamped so sadly not … but I urge her that it might work if she gets the right person at the info desk. I applaud her for remaining calm. She blames her suitcase, it is very big and she didn’t expect the winter clothes which it holds to be as heavy as they are. She’s bringing them to Scotland as her child is there for school and she’s scared they will get cold - she only plans to go for one day. She’s leaving this stop via Morden, while I’m going by Charing Cross. Her tube arrives, she looks over and I say I won’t be joining. She looks sad. She moves towards the tube with her big suitcase, she must be under 5 feet, it seems to hit her chest. I grab the side of it and help her into the tube, as I let go of the suitcase the door closes and it nearly catches my hand. She doesn’t turn around. The lady beside her smiles at me.  

04: Singing aloud in public, just because

November 13th, 2022- In transit, UK - Overground to Hoxton

My head is hurting due to a lack of sleep. I’m in a bit of a daze when I spot, out of the corner of my eye, a woman with a yellow scarf, she’s singing with herself and grooving to whatever song she’s listening to. Her mustard yellow jacket and shoes match and it’s just lovely to see her happy. Two stops later a mother and daughter duo arrive, they are very stylish and similar in looks. Speaking like friends and sitting in matching positions by accident, makes me miss my mom. I’m sure they have an adventure planned today perhaps Columbia flower market as well. They are layered up with fun scarves one in brown and the other army green. They just giggle. They jump off at Highbury and Islington again stepping in time. A woman in a bright salmon trench coat and matching bag replaces them. 

05: Finance, facial expressions and flare pants

November 17th, 2022 - walking - Camden street

I am in deep thought about finance and consumerism and I can imagine from the outside I look way too concentrated on walking. I can assume my facial expression is quite the contrast to the bright pink corduroy flare pants I am wearing. I am on my way to catch a train with my big travel backpack on. As I cross the street I meet eyes with an older gentleman in all neon orange - I assume he works in construction. He looks at me and giggles, stating “it’s a beautiful day” - it wasn’t, but - this jilted me out of my furrowed brow causing thoughts and I giggled as well. I responded with a smile “yes, yes it is”

06: Did you bring a book?

November 17th, 2022 - In transit, UK - Train to Swansea 

On the train, I sit across from an older couple. They are from Swansea and visited London for the weekend. They are lovely. Within five minutes the older woman turns to her partner and asks if he’s brought a book, signalling that this will be a quiet ride - I giggle, people have done the same to me (I talk a lot). We have a lovely conversation, they recommend the view from the shard, which they thought was going to be overrated, but it was in fact stunning. They enjoyed shows such as Wicked and Jersey Boys and although the city time was great they are excited to return home to Swansea. The older gentlemen’s glasses case has music notes covering it, I mention I love music and he lights up. He doesn’t play but he loves listening. I ask him to share some recommendations as I am in a music slump - he shares the following link: https://www.clashmusic.com/features/meet-the-women-pushing-uk-jazz-forward/.