people are people

The thing I like about people is, they’re people.

No matter where you go, people are people. Can you believe that?

See, I thought, when I moved to Taipei, that this dark-haired multitude would be somehow different than me. And, of course, they were. I mean, the things they liked to eat and the way they did their hair—that kind of thing. But when it came down to the REAL stuff, the stuff that makes people people, they were exactly like me!

I wanted to test out my theory, though, so I moved to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is bigger and more crowded than Taipei. As the world’s leading international business center, it holds more different kinds of people, too. In Hong Kong I could observe hundreds, no, thousands of people from all over the world every day. The MTR was a superb testing site.

It was grueling work, jostling amongst strangers. But when the results came in, the data was clear: People are people! Whether Asian or Indian or European or Russian or . . ., people everywhere have the same basic traits.

See, we all want to be loved. That one’s for sure. And we all like food. That one’s also 100 percent. We’re all a bit self-conscious. About 90 percent. And girls and boys everywhere are similar. For example: It’s usually the girls who wear high heels and giggle and the boys who wear basketball shoes and guffaw. Not the other way around. Usually. (Of course, there are always exceptions, but we’re not delving into Thailand’s lady men right now.)

man laughing (image: daviddisalvo.org)

No matter where we’re from, we all like to laugh. But we don’t laugh enough. For many reasons. Unless, of course, we’re a comedian. Then we have other problems. But I’m not funny so I don’t really know.

Oh, and, we all have a story. This one is definitely 100 percent. We tell our stories in many different ways: the way we act, the way we dress, the way we carry ourselves, the way we brush our teeth. Some of us have good stories; some of us have bad. None of us have perfect stories. But all of us are interested in other people’s stories.

Take my research, for example. While making observations on the MTR, I realized everyone else was conducting the same study on me. Everyone kept looking and staring and glancing away at their shoes and then looking again. And not just at me, but at everyone!  It was as if they couldn’t help themselves. As if they were inextricably drawn to each other. As if . . .

As if they knew something all of us had known all along:

Our stories are the things that connect us. If we can begin to understand and love one another, we can begin to understand and love ourselves.

(Are we crazy?)

dark-haired multitude in taipei

woman laughing in vietnam

man laughing in gereida (image: explore.org)

no matter where you go . . .

 

19 thoughts

  1. There are 2 things I always say(and believe me, I usually have a LOT to say! :) ) : 1) People always, without fail, love appreciation. 2) Basically human behavior is same all across… i am not a well traveled person, but fortunately, have interacted with people of different cultures, and that has reinforced this belief. And, you are someone from a different corner of the world, and your conclusion is the same…Ergo, your subject line must be true! :) BTW, you have captured some wonderful expressions!

    • Thank you! Yes, we are all largely the same. And I love that. That’s what makes travel and interacting with other cultures so interesting… Good for you!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. Fabulous post…and a really fun read! So much is made of far away lands that it is kind of strange to find out it is such a simple thing—really, at our core we are all so similar. The differences we do have are more about fine tuning, culture perhaps being the major difference, but then also what you’ve mentioned in your other posts: the environment in which you were raised.

    Sometimes, I think that that is what draws people in (or perhaps away, in some cases).

    It is great that you picked Hong Kong, as it is the perfect melting pot. I miss my early days in Hong Kong, running around Tsimshatsui eating at the most interesting places and in addition finding out how different people were. My first roommate was a guy from Nepal, and after getting through all the “weird” cultural differences on both sides, it was stunning how similar we were. In the end, we have a lot more in common than some of my great friends I’ve known since I was 5 years old.

    I think you are right about the stories. It is what connects us, and I think for some people the natural curiosity of a ‘foreigner’ draws in more interest, as we want to understand what life is like elsewhere. Very cool post…enjoyed it, and let me know when you are in Hong Kong :-)

    • I know, isn’t it? Here in the States, we often view the stories we see on the news as though they’re not real. I mean, we know they are, but they’re not *really* real, as in, happening to people just like us. My heart breaks, though, when I hear about some of what is going on around the world, like the collapse of the garment building in Bangladesh a month or so ago. I imagine what it would be like to be living and working in those circumstances. It is only by luck or fate or whatever you want to call it that I happened to have been born to a family in California rather than Dakar.

      My point is, though, that, yes: The world is full of people just like us. It doesn’t matter what you wear or what you eat or how you worship… Culture may be the driving force behind much of how we live, but under it all, we ARE all just people.

      Stories and connection. I’m so glad you mentioned your roommate from Nepal, and glad to hear you’re still friends today. That’s one thing I’ve discovered I love about blogging, actually. It’s put me in touch with and given me insight into the lives so many different people from around the world! I love learning about other people’s stories.

      I will most certainly let you know when and if I make it back to Hong Kong. I have a dear friend there right now who I’m actually very worried about. My goal is to be somewhere in that part of the world sometime within the next year. :)

  3. Pingback: i love you | shift

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