Before coming to the United States, there was a saying in my hometown that ‘the Americans are always busy doing their own things; they walk fast and they don’t have time talking to you. Just be open minded and don’t take it personal!’ That saying unconsciously framed my perception of the people I will meet in the United States, and I have to admit, along with my excitement, that I was nervous and expecting that I can be lonely sometimes in USA especially in the host community where I will be spending 4 weeks of my fellowship there.
However, Tallahassee that I have witnessed myself is nowhere near what I heard! Since the first moment of arrival until this moment where I am writing this blog, I have only been impressed by the Southern Hospitality offered.
Right after getting out of the plane, Eduardo Marti Kring and Sandra Manning from the City of Tallahassee were found right there waiting for us, holding welcoming signs with our names on it and gift bags! They gave a warm greeting, took us to eat nice food and made sure that we were all set in our accommodations. It was a great surprise for me and I was really moved.
The first week joining the City Tallahassee confirmed that my earlier perception was wrong. People here are warm, sweet and welcoming to us and to each other. Everyone knows each other, everyone greets each other as if they were friends. Everyone I met in the City of Tallahasee, regardless of what positions they are in, said hello and initiated conversations with me and made sure that I enjoy my stay. It is not that they are not busy, they just make time for it.
When people asked me what I like most about Tallahassee, my answer is always consistent, ‘your lovely people and your hospitality’. I feel nothing but grateful to be placed in Tallahassee and one thing for sure that I will take back home beside other knowledge is the spirit of a warm and sweet welcoming and I will apply that to my homes and my future visitors.
I will finish with my favorite quote I heard during my stay, ‘In the South there are no strangers, just friends we haven’t met yet.’