Crossing The Cultural Divide… Kind Of

, , , , | Romantic | September 22, 2020

One of my best friends lives in Germany and is in university. She’s describing a relationship between a classmate of hers and a foreign student from the USA.

Friend: “He doesn’t speak German and she doesn’t speak English, but they’re both taking Spanish, so that’s how they communicate!”

Me: “Aw! That’s cute.”

Friend: “But I actually wasn’t sure about something. She likes him, and she thinks he likes her, too, because he’s always super nice to her! But I wanted to ask you what you thought, because I think the way he’s behaving might just be a Southern US thing?”

Me: “Only so much I can tell without meeting the guy, but shoot.”

Friend: “Well, he always holds the door for her, and he walks her to her dorm when it’s late, and…” *Describes a proper Southern Gentleman*

Me: “Ah, yeah. I think this is just a cultural disconnect. Your friend can go for it, but I think he’s just being polite.”

Friend: “I was afraid of that. I’ll let her know.”

The classmate did end up asking the guy out, and he, very politely, let her down. Turns out he was being nice to her because that’s how he was raised and that’s how he treats everybody. Thankfully, because of the forewarning, she wasn’t entirely heartbroken and bounced back quickly.

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Music Always Crosses Bridges

, , , , , , | Learning | September 20, 2020

I am a teaching assistant for students on the autism spectrum. I am assigned to one specific student. She is nonverbal, but she loves music, and part of our daily schedule is to sit in on one of the chorus rehearsals. She gets excited, stims by flapping her hands, and sometimes approaches soloists to hear their voices.

That summer, I spend some more time with her, including taking her out to the local mall for lunch and window-shopping. While we are eating lunch, she suddenly smiles and starts to stim. I look up and see one of the chorus students who has just graduated approaching.

Chorus Student: “Hi! I hope I’m not interrupting anything, but I wanted to say hello to [My Student].”

Me: “Well, I can tell she’s happy to see you.”

Chorus Student: “I’m glad she enjoyed our rehearsals! Even on the days when it felt like we weren’t making any progress, [My Student] was there smiling and having a good time. Knowing someone liked listening to us was really encouraging. It was great that she and her parents were able to attend the end-of-year concert.”

She talked to [My Student] for a few minutes before leaving, and [My Student] was delighted for the rest of the day. I am glad to this day that they both made a difference to each other.

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for September 2020!

Read the next Feel Good roundup story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for September 2020!

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Some People Really, REALLY Should Not Have Kids

, , , , , | Friendly | September 3, 2020

I had a classmate who was lovely but not really bright. She had gotten pregnant and was telling me how it happened. She genuinely believed her boyfriend wouldn’t be able to impregnate her because he smoked. I asked her when she found out. She told me she went to the doctor and he told her she was just a bit pregnant. The Dutch love sarcasm.

So, she went on with her daily life thinking she was partially pregnant. Eventually, she had an ultrasound and that is when it hit her. They got married, and five months after giving birth, she was at the doctor again believing she was just a bit pregnant. 

They are expecting baby number three now.

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It All Comes Out In The Wash

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 18, 2020

Back when I was at school in the early 2000s, there was a mentally disabled boy in my year. I never asked or figured out exactly what his disability was but it was sufficient that he had a dedicated special needs teacher in class with him for the full duration of our time at school.  

The permanent presence of said support teacher warded him from any direct bullying, although there were a lot of comments when people were out of hearing range. Being something of an outcast myself due to my autism, I felt a certain degree of affinity with him and often paired with him in classes that required partnering to offer him support. Whilst doing this, I learned that the thing that made him happier than anything else on the planet… was a washing machine.

I never figured out why, but watching washing go round and round filled him with utter joy, and I have to say, I was kind of jealous that he was able to gain such satisfaction from something so simple whilst I wallowed in undiagnosed depression through the bulk of my school days.

After school, I moved away for university and then work. Recently, I moved back into the local area, and whilst doing some errands around town, I walked past the local laundry and saw my old schoolmate inside. I popped in to say hello and, sure enough, he remembered me.

He was still with a carer; however, I learned that he worked twelve hours a week at this laundry as part of a community scheme to support disabled people and help them find employment in the local area.

The look on his face as he watched an entire wall of washing machines spinning away makes me smile even as I write this now. I’m so happy that he managed to truly find his ideal place in life, as so very few of us do.

This story is part of our feel-good roundup for August 2020!

Read the next feel-good story here!

Read the feel-good August 2020 roundup!

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A Quarter’s Twenty-Five Cents; Kindness Is Priceless

, , , , , , | Learning | August 17, 2020

When I was in middle school, cell phones weren’t yet common, and nobody my age had one yet. I ate lunch near the one payphone in my school.

One lunchtime, there was a guy asking everyone if they had a quarter he could borrow since he needed to call his parents for whatever reason. I always had a few, due to missing the bus semi-regularly, so I gave him one. He thanked me, promised to pay me back, and then walked away, and I promptly forgot all about it.

I’m not sure how many days or weeks later it was when I was surprised at lunch by this random guy coming up to me and handing me a quarter!

It seems like such a small thing, but just the fact that he remembered me and paid me back, when he really didn’t have to, meant enough for me to still remember it clearly to this day.

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