The Language of Friendship is Universal

No matter what language you speak or how old you are, friendship brings joy to life. These three ladies met in a Starbucks in Kyoto for eating, drinking coffee and sharing their lives. They laughed, they listened to each other, they were totally engrossed in speanding time with each other. I had fun watching them have fun together. It reminded me of when I spend time with my girlfriends. 

Think about all the people you have known in your years. Those from grade school until today. The childhood classmates who traveled with you through your education years. The team mates who trained and practiced with you throughout the seasons. Think about the friends from clubs, or hobbies, church or community groups. The work colleagues that have become a part of your life outside of the office, and those you have met and enjoyed knowing through common interests or events. The people you have developed relationships with throughout the years have had an impact on who you have become. 

There are those who have become lifelong friends or as close as family. There are those we knew and never really liked or got along with. There are those who slowly became a part of our lives and have remained an important presence in our world. And there are those that have come and gone; they served their purpose and time moved them on to something else. No matter how they entered or left or how long they stayed, the people we shared our journey with have helped us become who we are. They assisted us in learning what we believed and what we were willing to defend. 

Give thanks for the people in your life who have helped you become the best you. Think and acknowledge all the life lessons these people have helped you learn and absorb. Think about the adventures you have shared and the sorrows they have helped you endure. Give them a call. Share your joy over a cup of coffe or meal, and let them know how blessed you have been to call them friend. No matter what language you speak, the language of friendship is universal. 

The Nerd Inside You

No matter how you spell it, nerds are the same in all countries. These three sat near us in Akihibara, alias electric town, in Tokyo. We were on the top floor of the SEGA store, waiting for our family to shop until they dropped. So while we waited we experienced for at least a few minutes the life of a nerd. These three sat and played their game for a while. During that timeframe three additional tables became occupied by other groups of young boys. I was the only female to be found. Each group had an obvious plan to hang out together for a while. They enjoyed the space, each other, and a similar interest in anime. 

Anime is a world I must admit I know very little about. There are many characters, stories and way too many things I cannot keep up with. Yet for these ‘nerds’ it is a world they can enjoy together, be passionate about, and build friendships around. They spend time energy and money on this world, and seem to enjoy it immensely. It not only ignites their imagination, it has helped them figure out who they are and what they want. We commonly use the word to describe quirky, overly smart, akward people when in reality they are just passionate about something we do not understand. 

There is a nerd inside of all of us. A person who is passionate about a topic and spends time learning and doing it. Maybe you are a golf nerd, or a fishing nerd, an art nerd, or a movie nerd. Maybe you have a hobby you are a nerd about, or a place you are a nerd for. Maybe you follow a favorite performer or band, or study and produce work from a particular genre. Whatever it is, there is an easy way to tell if you are a nerd. 

Do you spend your time on this topic? Do you find ways to be around people who are also interested in that topic? Have you made friends with them, spend time with them doing something related to this topic? Do you spend money on things related to this topic? Do you spend energy learning about the topic, reading about it, or visiting places related to your topic? Do other people not understand your interest? All of these questions may help you relate to these three teeenagers, or nerds. We all have a little nerd inside us, it just depends on who we show it to. There are those who will understand, and those who will never have a clue. 

I hope today you allow yourself to be a nerd. Be passionate about something you enjoy, no matter who understands. Letting your inner nerd free will make you a better person. It will free you from the confines of living in the box, if only for a short time with friends. 

Friendship is Universal

I caught these women walking through a local marketplace in Asakusa before the busy day began. One pair embraces the ancient culture by wearing yukata, the casual kimono style. The other embraces western styles like graphic t-shirts, tennis shoes and bare legs. Both sets of friends are talking and walking and enjoying the fellowship while they travel to their location. They reminded me of the time I have spent walking with my friends, talking , sharing the day. These ladies may have different challenges and a completely different world, yet their need for friendship is the same as mine. 

Traveling with a friend can make all the difference. It makes time go more quickly and tasks of the day seem less mundane. There is someone to provide a trusted opinion as well as set you straight when your thinking is hinky. Friendship provides an arena for us to be ourselves, try out new ideas, and feel accepted no matter how stupid we may behave. Friendship lends comfort when life beats us up or breaks our heart. I am not sure these Japanese ladies eat ice cream straight out of the container, yet I have a sneaking suspicion that indulging in red bean paste over soft serve fulfills the same objective. 

Friesnhip is universal. Not matter the culture, location, preferred style of dress or generation, friendship makes life better. It takes the edge off the terrible, horrible, no good days and enhances joy, success, and excitement. When either happens there is hopefully a friend you want to share it with first. I hope today you have someone to share life with – a good friend who cheers you to greatness or embraces you during times of sorrow. Someone to travel with or walk to the market. Someone to smile when they see you coming, or hug you before you depart.