Standing out: L’habit ne fait pas le moine

I love that this person really plucked up the courage to speak to a stranger – GREAT pic!

Internationally Yours In Europe

I got off work and dreaded my long metro ride to get back home. I was so tired to the point where I thought I would fall asleep on the train and miss my stop. Suddenly, this sight caught my eyes. For the first time, I found myself utilizing a french custom, the one custom that irritates me the most : staring. I found myself staring at this mesmerizing creature. At first glance, I wasn’t sure how to feel about her. I pictured her being featured in some Disney movie as I found myself staring and analyzing. There was something particular about her. I needed to know. So I stared. And stared. And stared.



I first noticed her facial tattoos. Then her colorful dreads stole the spotlight. The dreads matched the colors of her tattoos. She wore a leopard print headscarf that covered part of her colorful hair. She had…

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My neighbor, a stranger: ‘Take care of one another’

One of the great consequences of chatting to a stranger is that your compassion grows…

Humans of Monmouth


When I was younger, Mrs. Hill was always a warm presence in the neighborhood. I never would have guessed her husband called her “Mount Misery” behind closed doors.

“I felt like I lived in a time warp, and it often felt extremely overwhelming. And sometimes it felt easier to just want to sit in a corner and cry,” said my neighbor Marianne Hill, mother of five.

She cited hereditary obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression as her greatest struggles in life.

Hill said she “worked through it” for her family and is not embarrassed to be medicated because she “feels a lot better.”

“It’s nice to wake up everyday and be able to get through the day and enjoy it without the weight of junk mail in your head.”

Hill said she tries to be the best she can be, and her positivity makes it clear that she also…

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Two surprises on the beach

Sometimes a chat with a stranger makes your whole day…

Mummykimmy's Blog

Saturday didn’t sneak up on me like it did last week.

Last night I decided the wee man and I would spend the morning at the beach. It’s one of my favourite places in Aberdeen and a real perk of living here, so would kill the morning perfectly.

Isn’t it funny that the more relaxed you are, the easier things become? Two lovely unexpected things happened.

First, the sun blazed defiantly, as if to mock late September. The wee man and I ran around the playpark at the entrance to Balmedie beach, shedding layers and squinting. We shared a packet of Hula Hoops on a bench and he slurped his juice, swinging his legs and grinning up at me. I suggested we went down to the sea and he nodded happily.

It takes a while to walk through the dunes, but we weren’t in any hurry (another lesson from…

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Goodbye is the same as hello

Picture 4The park was deserted. It had rained all that Thursday morning, so people were obviously staying away.

My two year-old was in his waterproof suit and happily rocketing down wet slides and stomping through damp leaves.

I was pushing him in the swing when a woman and two children approached over the grass. The younger boy wanted to get into the swing next to my son. The older girl ran off to the huge basket swing. I listened to them talking and wondered if it was Italian.

My son waved at the boy next to him.

“Are you saying hi? I think you need to say ‘ciao’,” I told him.

The woman smiled.

“Yes, ciao,” she said.

We were the only adults in the park, I suppose it would have been weird not to talk.

“I don’t speak Italian,” I apologised. “I speak Spanish so I can kind of get the gist,” I said and then wondered if she would understand the colloquialism.

“Yes, they are similar,” she agreed.

Her English was good – I noticed her correcting her own grammar – and she told me she had studied since she arrived in Scotland a year and a half ago.

“Italian peoples – people – don’t speak English. I knew a little from school,” she explained.

It’s difficult to hold a conversation when you’re chasing three children around a park, but she made a real effort to keep chatting. She asked questions about my son, and where I was from – she said she found it easy to understand my accent – and said her kids were learning English at ‘kindergarten’. She was enjoying the free time it gave her and she was hoping to work a little more. I told her I had been to Rome, but never Verona, where she was from, and she explained that her husband was from the south, a whole different world from the north.

“I do not understand the dialectic from there,” she laughed with a typical Italian hand gesture. She reminded me of the Italian girl I had shared a flat with when I was a student, whose flamboyant hand gestures had always fascinated me.

I really warmed to this woman. She was funny and friendly and our kids played well together.

I felt sad when my son’s freezing hands, red nose and whining forced me to leave.

“How do you say ‘bye’ in Italian?” I asked her.

“It’s the same as hello,” she said. “Ciao ciao.”