Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meeting New People, Making Friends

I’ve never been to a quilt class without a girlfriend accompanying me on the journey. This time I decided to go at the last minute, and was therefore alone and a stranger amongst many others. Normally I would be with my friend and we would an insular group amongst the larger group, which is wonderful and a privilege to have friends I can do that with. But this trip was different. I was there alone, as were most of the others. Only two sets of best friends were in our class. That allowed everyone to make friends with everyone equally and that has its own rewards.

I arrived in a taxi. My flight was to Newark and therefore was half the price return than a flight right inot Syracuse. The trains didn’t connect at a good time, so I bravely decided to rent a car. If you knew how easily I get lost and the reputation I have for doing that....well, it was brave. I picked up the car, and headed out on the Interstate. Approximately 20 minutes out of Newark, out on the highway, the GPS the girl had so sweetly programmed for me died! I felt a note of panic, but kept driving. Somehow I ended up in the center of a little town. Where you ask? I don’t know! But finally I stopped and asked a man at a gas station kiosk if he could give me directions. He scribbled on a scrap of till paper, the numbers for three highways .... I-80 and two others. I drove off and took the first turn as he had directed. Lo and behold, I drove straight to the Syracuse airport, where I turned in the car and caught a cab to Onandaga Community College. The plan for my return was to take an Amtrak train back to New York City, where I planned to spend three days before heading home. When one of the other students heard that, she asked if I would ride along with her to a train station within 20 minutes of where I was going, which was 10 minutes past her house. I said “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to impose.” Her reply was that she would be pleased to have me accompany her for the drive because it would go faster with someone to talk to. Isn’t that wonderful?

I made another friend who is creative, talented and fun to be with. She is Jewish and is studying Sacred Jewish Music and the Hebrew Language. She did some stitching with those letters on a bread cloth that turned out beautifully, and shared the use of a bread cloth and the story behind it. I was intrigued and happy to hear more of whatever she wanted to share. By the end of the class, we decided to keep in touch via Facebook and email. I look forward to a long term pen pal relationship with her, and hopefully, seeing her again at the advanced class.

Another woman in the class befriended me as well. Her work is so admirable and I couldn’t help exclaiming over its perfection and intricate detail. We started a conversation over lunch, and I hope to stay in regular email conversations with her too. She generously offered to spend an afternoon with me in her city before I go home. That’s New York, and I’m so pleased to have someone that was born and raised tell me about the intricacies of the history and the different areas. I am hoping she will be at the next class as well.

And there was Scott. A designer by trade, he was a pleasure to share the time with, as well as to watch his design choices and the confidence with which he approached the projects after only having been sewing since March! He was by far the most computer helpful person in the class and dedicated the better part of Day 2 to the needs of others. He was very generous with his knowledge and everyone appreciated him.

And then there were my room-mates! We were in a dorm situation where four people stayed in separate bedrooms with a shared kitchen /living room area. Those girls were generous and welcoming as well, and happy to show a “newbie” the ropes. Because I had flown in from further away than most, I didn’t have snacks or wine, nor did I have a car to go get any. Next time I’ll plan that one better! We were all in different classes so we got a smattering of information from them about the other teachers and their subject matter as well. Everyone was pleased with the class they were in, as varied as they were.

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