Reach Out a Hand

Written by Swati

February 20th, 2023

As the sun made her wispy escape, I had another great realization on the bus outside of the Milan airport: here you are, taking the world by storm. Not just a tiny lightning strike, but a torrential downpour. Here you are melting icy exteriors, one interaction at a time. Lately I have relied strongly on the direction of kind strangers. If you dropped me off in any city and asked me to get somewhere, I will one hundred percent of the time end up heading off in the opposite direction. I give myself ample time to mess up, but still always end up needing a helping hand, which the world has always kindly offered. After a panini lunch and wandering the streets of Luxembourg prior to my flight to Italy, I met Tanya, a South Sudanese college student in a pink and purple paisley print skirt, who led a frantic me to the bus stop that would take me to the Luxembourg airport. She double checked the destination, kindly requesting the driver to give me a heads up when we arrived. I couldn’t thank her enough after she walked me all the way to the bus stop and waited for the right one to get there.

In Scotland, I stood at a crossroads, holding up a map printed off for me by the concierge from the wrong location of the hotel chain I booked a stay in. With two locations so close together I wandered my way into the wrong address, but with a map in hand I still couldn’t seem to figure it out. A woman approached me jovially on the street, asking if she could give me directions anywhere. After a few minutes of explanation I had a clear idea of where I needed to be and what I would pass on my way to Queen Street, but I was still taken aback by her warmth and willingness to help to the point of approaching me. She and her husband sent me off with a “Cheers, best of luck!” And as I made my way to check in, I realized that I have such immense gratitude for kind strangers, they make the world turn. 

I am constantly reminded that if you reach out a hand, the world will once again feel like something you can hold in the palms of your hands. We love because we have been loved before, passing forward the chain formed lifetimes ago.