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Unexpected Places by Elyse Petersen

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  • I am addicted to making new friends. When I travel and live abroad I feel I have a license to be extra forward. I have no problem walking into a bar alone or going around a village just to greet everyone.
    When I first moved to Wazuka, a small village in Kyoto Prefecture Japan, I asked my coworkers where a good place would be to meet people on a Friday night. They explained to me that there are no bars or local hangouts, but I could try going to the convenience store. So I did.
    I spent an hour awkwardly scanning the products in each aisle, making conversation with any customer that walked by. The last person I met was a nice young girl named Noriko. I briefly introduced myself in my terrible Japanese and we exchanged email addresses.
    Yesterday she contacted me and invited me to lunch. We had a wonderful day together exploring Nara. I came to find that she's a beautiful woman with an amazing spirit. We spoke of dreams and risks and she even agreed that this year is a time for us to take our own responsibility to make the world a better place.
    Moral of the story: never be surprised where you will meet the next amazing person in your life.
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