Encounters with friends & strangers

You’re Gonna Have To Be More Pacific

, , , , | Friendly | November 3, 2020

I’m from a tiny country in the North Atlantic ocean but live in Finland. Before I got the hang of the language and got a job, I was a regular at a local club in the town I live in. Some there spoke fine English, while others… not so much. It’s a clubhouse for young adults and older — usually around middle age/retirement — and some of the older ones are a bit… special every now and then.

This middle-aged club member is interested in me and where I’m from, so they start a small conversation in English.

Club Member: “So, where are you from?”

Me: “I’m from [Country].”

Club Member: “Okay, and where is that?”

Me: “It’s a tiny country in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean.”

I explain in more detail.

Club Member: “Oh, okay.”

They walk away. A little while later, the same person comes back to me.

Club Member: “So… where are you from again?”

Me: “I’m from [Country].”

Club Member: “Oh, right.”

They walk away again. A little while later, the same person comes back. Again.

Club Member: “So, how is the weather in New Zealand?”

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, , , , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2020

As a rule, I don’t swear, to the point where people are surprised when I say, “Dang it.” My friends swear a bit, but this has never caused any friction and usually results in me jokingly telling them, “Language!” while they joke about me being an innocent child.

Me: “Fffffffffffffffffff—”

Friend: “Are you going to swear?!”

Me: “Fffffffffffffffff—”




Me: “Ffffffffffffffffrick.”

Friend: “I’m so proud.”

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Duck Right Out Of This One

, , , , | Friendly | November 2, 2020

We live near a lake and often walk our kids around to feed the ducks and swans. While you can feed them bread, it isn’t healthy for them and can even cause physical deformity! We use pellet duck food. It’s a few quid for a massive bucket. We find the ducks love it and flock to us first which is a nice bonus!

I portion out a bag for both of the kids and we stop by the lake on the way back from the shops.

We’ve been there a little while when a man and his son approach us. 

Man: “Could we have some food for the ducks?”

I start looking in the kids’ bags.

Me: “Sorry, it looks like we have pretty much run out.”

Man: “What? You’ve got plenty left.”

He points to the bread rolls in my shopping bag.

Me: “Oh, no. That’s our lunch; you can’t have that, I’m afraid.”

Man: “Come on, man. He wants to feed the ducks.”

Me: “I can see that, but I’m not having my kids go without lunch so you can throw it to the ducks. There’s a shop not even a five-minute walk from here. Go get your own.”

Man: “I haven’t got any money.”

Me: *Pause* “Be more prepared, then?”

We left the man and boy to it. I could just make out him telling the lad that they would have to walk “all the way to the shops, then,” as if it was that much of an effort.

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, , , , | Friendly | November 1, 2020

It’s the day after Hallowe’en. I’m pushing my baby in her stroller down the wheelchair ramp to the train station’s entrance when the door opens. Out comes a woman with a two- or three-year-old child in a Spiderman costume.

The woman takes a step to the side, enough to clear the route through, and gets out her phone. Mini-Spiderman looks around, spots the stroller coming down, crams himself tight against the wall, and then starts vigorously waving the woman away.


The woman looks at him, then up the ramp at the baby and me, and then smiles and steps even farther to the side.

Me: “Thank you, Spiderman!”

Mini-Spiderman: *Cheerfully* “No, actually, I’m Batman.”

I guess even Batman gets to dress up for Hallowe’en!

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Unexpected Children: The Scariest Halloween Terror

, , , , , , , | Friendly | October 31, 2020

It’s Halloween. Our lights are off and we are clearly not giving out candy because my husband and I simply can’t afford to this year. We are in the living room watching TV when we hear the front door creak open. Thinking it’s my sister, I go to greet her, only to realize it’s a couple of kids and some people I don’t know. I scream, and they run back outside.

My husband goes out to talk to them, and it turns out that they thought that simply walking into our house for candy was okay. My husband told them that if they ever did that again, he’d call the security company. They haven’t been back since, but a lot of our neighbors talked to them and finally made them realize that just walking into a house that isn’t yours isn’t okay, even for candy.

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