I went down to the patio and listened to some Australians and Kiwis talk about bungee jumping. I bought some yogurt and a pain au chocolat from the convenience store, and I was joined by Yiling and two friends she had made in the women’s dorm: Andrea, a Dutch after-school art teacher, and Tran, a brash, butch, Korean-American Microsoft contractor. We walked back in to town together so Andrea and Yiling could have some food.
Tran interested me, as her boisterous external personality reminded me of a part of my own personality that needs refinement; At first she struck me as uncomfortably, stereotypically American, until I dug the common connection that was rooted in the lonely world of being different as a kid, and subsequently embracing weirdness as a strength. If you are then recruited away from the normal social realm into Microsoft or the Silicon Valley, you work long hours with similarly freaky people, and it takes that much longer to notice that you haven’t made that many friends, since you still haven’t had much call for trying to relate to other people on a more basic human level.
Or was that the theme in _Microserfs_, which I finished reading just before Italy? Either way, I think this adventure has done me some good in that regard. I’m pretty sure this is one reason why Mary told me “Just Go!”