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I love travelling on public transport because it is the best way to get talking to strangers, anywhere, anytime, any day.

As I was heading into our city centre in the the already packed bus yesterday morning,  I saw a  woman from China whom I have spoken to before, without her youngest son. So I said hello to her and we got chatting.

Now, my first language is Scottish English, second is Cantonese and this woman speaks Mandarin so our conversation was limited as my Mandarin is “half a bucket of water” as we describe it in Cantonese. Yet I was bold enough in chatting to this woman because I was interested in where she was heading to on the bus. From asking me where I was going, we found an opportunity to talk about our kids and how they are so Scottish that they talk to each other in Scottish and not Chinese, because Scottish is their first language. I found out that she was heading into college, to learn what I could not understand. Yet that was no deterrent for me to stop talking to her. I told her that I have plans on a visit to Hong Kong in October with my youngest son and he loves flying because he loves aeroplanes. So that created an opportunity for me to ask her about her kids and if they like to fly.

She told me her kids have yet to fly and they shall get their first opportunity soon, I think that’s what she had told me from what I had picked up as she used her finger making the number one and I heard the words “first time”.

Her body language is a great indicator as to what she was saying as she took full advantage of it. She was smart in expressing to me what she was saying as she knew that my Mandarin is “half a bucket of water” by using her full body language. Thank goodness!

I also found out from asking more questions about where she lived prior to moving the our neighbourhood. Then I found out that her kids still attend Saturday Chinese School at Springburn and they get two buses there and two buses back. Her college class finishes at eleven O’clock and then she picks up her youngest son from nursery.

I told her it’s great that she’s learning things at college because my dad had taught me that whatever we learn shall always be with us so learn more. Her curiosity to learn is an attractive quality to have and I am drawn to people like her. Her vibes tells me that she is a smart and intelligent woman always learning something. She comes across as positive and an inspiration because that’s what I picked up from her vibes. I have seen her about in our neighbourhood with her three kids, two sons and a daughter. I would love to talk to her more in Mandarin so I shall learn more then we could be talking until “the cows come home”!

As I was paying for my purchases in the health food shop, I got a quick conversation with the young girl behind the counter. I just love to talk and it comes from my self confidence plus it helps me to develop my quick thinking and effective communication skills.

I saw the same Chinese Mandarin speaking woman as I was walking to pick up my son from school and she had her youngest son with her, holding his hand. She said “hello” to me because we had built a connection in the morning.  I greeted her son with “little friend, how are you”? in Mandarin and he just smiled at me and then hid behind his mum! How innocent and cute?

I was quite surprised by my limited Mandarin and how much I knew. I had no lessons from a school or college so I felt proud of my achievement so far. It pays to learn another dialect or new language as it shall come in handy especially here in Glasgow, Scotland as we are a diverse city with so many cultures.

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