The Writing 101 prompt I am following today is to write about an interesting person I have met this year. Bearing in mind the lesson of yesterday, I am aiming for a nice concise post today. I can but try.
I am a shy person. An introvert. I’d rather spend an evening with a good book than out among the crowds in a bar or club. As such, it’s not often that I meet new people. And that’s fine with me.
It’s not that I don’t like people. Far from it. I love to learn people’s stories, it appeals to the writer in me. My brain files away personality quirks and interesting expressions ready to be drawn on to flesh out the characters in my writing. But I can only take people in small doses. Too many people and the energy is sapped right out of me.
In late August I started a couple of Finnish classes. I’ve lived in Finland for a little over four years now, and if I ever want to find a job (which I do!) I need to build my confidence in speaking the language. Hence the classes. Signing up to the classes was a big deal for me. One in particular was a challenge – it centres around *shudder* talking to people. I know, right!
Both of the classes meant I would have to meet new people. I had thought there would be some overlap – perhaps a couple would be both classes. Nope. Over twenty completely new people in a matter of days. For someone like me that’s a bit overwhelming.
But for the writer in me, the character collector… It’s like a treasure trove, a gold mine.
The youngest person in either of my classes is a girl in her mid teens. She’s from Australia, here as an exchange student. She has travelled to and studied in numerous countries, and I’ll admit to being more than a tad jealous. I would love to travel.
There’s the German retiree whose Finnish wife persuaded him to join the class as a way to get to talk to more people. And he certainly talks, extensively, in very good Finnish interspersed with the occasional German word. He has a lot of tales to tell.
Then there’s the Russian doctor who for some unknown reason makes me think of my dear Danish friend, Bambi. He’s a neurologist working as a GP (the doctor, not Bambi) whilst improving his Finnish to a level that will allow him to take the tests to let him work as a neurologist here in Finland.
Russians actually are perhaps the best represented in my classes. More than half of my classmates, if I’m counting correctly. There’s the doctor, an engineer, a pharmacist turned stay-at-home mum. One is actually a Moldovan, though she grew up in Russia.
I think the best thing about the classes – aside from learning Finnish of course! – is meeting all the new people, despite my general dislike for such situations. There are so many personalities. So many cultures and languages – Russian, Estonian, Spanish, German, Australian, Chinese, Greek, Iranian…
It reminds me that people aren’t so bad. Being social doesn’t have to make me anxious. It can be rewarding and enjoyable, even if I often feel like I don’t have a clue what to say – in either language. But you know what the best part is?
The best part is, I can still go home and be away from “people”. Just me and my husband, a good book or a show. People aren’t so bad, in small doses.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do people charge you up or run you down?