Dec 272015

pig picking peggy bill scott krisMost people that know me would not believe I am shy, but it is true. Even my high school senior year homeroom teacher stated “Although Ann is rather reserved , she seems to be well liked by her peers” in my permanent record. I have always felt awkward going somewhere where I did not know anyone especially if I was going by myself.

That is still true although, I make myself, go up and speak to people. I feel more at ease talking to someone who looks shy or uncomfortable. I know the feeling and hope it will help them loosen up as well as myself. I met my friends of several years in the picture above by doing this. Peggy and Bill ( middle couple) I met at an organic wind store , Sip, in Cary. I was there with a girlfriend and struck up a conversation with them. They had moved to NC a few months previously when Bill’s job relocated him here. Peggy was not working yet and did not know anyone in the area. They moved from New York, talk about culture shock.

I invited Peggy to lunch then to an exercise class. We became fast friends and have had so many fun times together, even going white water rafting in West Virginia. This was the subject of our first talk and it happened two years later. Bill had never been and was a little apprehensive. We went into a hole in a class 3 rapid first thing and the boat went straight up before coming down. Eric and I  were so surprised because we have been going for years on class 5 rapids and never had that wild a ride. I looked back at Bill and he was smiling! I thought he made it through a really tough one with pizzazz.

I met Kris and Scott, the couple on the right, at a wine networking event hosted by Kevin Synder. We started talking and I found out they had only been here a few months moving from California. Talk about culture shock again! I invited them to an informal wine tasting the upcoming Saturday. They came and met Peggy and Bill and Eric . The rest is history. I can not tell you how many delicious dinner parties and fun movie nights we have shared with these couples. They have enriched our lives and all because I am shy and want to reach out to others who are feeling the same way.

When I worked at NCSU for over 20 years in a biochemistry research lab, I met graduate students from all over the world: France, Japan, Taiwan, India, Romania and more. I was always intrigued to learn about their cultures and tried many International food dishes. I spent countless nights at my friend, Shigeko’s house,  eating wonderful, homemade Japanese food. We met 40 years ago and still visit each other to this day.

It may be my Southern upbringing, but I have always feel the need to make others feel welcome in my home town. I am so proud of the Raleigh area, growing up when there was only 5 or 6 restaurants here. It has certainly grown over the last 60 years, but being a native, I feel the desire to let others see what I see when I think of Raleigh. I want them to feel welcome and be able to call the Raleigh area home.

When you tap into your innermost spiritual center and know that we are all truly connected, it becomes much easier to forget  your fears of rejection and strike up a conversation. What is the worst thing that could happen? They ignore you or don’t seem interested? Just bless them and hope they loosen up one day. On the other hand , you may experience deep friendships with people from other places; learn about their homes, cultures and values,thus enriching your life beyond compare.