Halfway Across the World, a Neighbor

I’m writing this from a BlackBerry in the domestic terminal of the Mumbai airport, where I will spend the next four hours waiting to board a flight, my final of three, which will take me to Vizag.

“Vizag” nearly got me left at the international terminal. The city, to where I’m traveling for my friends’ wedding, is officially called Visakhapatnam. I just had to look that up in my guidebook. Thanks to Google autofill, I haven’t learned how to spell the actual name of the city I’m going to. And my SpiceJet itinerary also used the colloquialism. The Indian police didn’t know where or what Vizag was. Thankfully, they did get my stumbling attempts at the town’s real name.

As I’m waiting for this bus to arrive, surveying the dilapidated scene at the Mumbai airport, the only non-Indian person around, a young Indian girl with an American accent asked me where I was coming from. She was born in the States, currently lives in Sioux Falls, SD, and goes to school at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

I grew up within 2 hours of those places. I met her at an airport halfway around the world. If there were ever an appropriate time for the cliche, this is it: It’s a small, small world. Which is an amazing thing to be reminded of as you find yourself alone at midnight in an airport halway around the world.

It’s easy enough to choose to be intimidated, or defensive, or skeptical when in unfamiliar surroundings. But it’s a whole lot more fun to open up, pray for favor, and discover ridiculous bursts of joy. Like riding the bus with a girl who was at my college campus last month for a conference.

What a small and lovely world.


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