We had just gotten back to the host home after five informational meetings, and I was exhausted. I just wanted to log on Pinterest and scroll through the humor section and look for Hamilton memes. My intuition was buzzing though. Grandmother, the sassy and attentive hostess for our time in Georgia clearly wanted to spend time with us. She asked what games we like to play and what TV shows we watched and if we wanted any dessert. It would have been easy, and what I wanted, to answer politely and then go to my room and zone out.
However, I knew she just wanted to hang out and talk. I knew that I could build a relationship with her if I hung out and talked so I did. We stayed up way later than we should have. We talked about my time as an ambassador and her time teaching underprivileged mothers skills like sewing and soap making. She told the story of three generations of her family, her older sister and husband who had passed away and showed me blackened, black and white portraits of her parents on their wedding day. When we said goodnight somewhere past midnight she said she’d never told that much to anyone, because no one listened.
As we were leaving we took a picture together. She turned to me and said, “Thank you for being available. Come see me again soon, please.” I marveled to think I could have spent that time on the internet instead. I would have missed out on making a friend and being a friend, and having an uplifting conversation. There’s an opportunity in every conversation and I’m so glad I took that one. Making ourselves available, even when we don’t want to be, opens us up to influence and gives more chances to use ours. I have a feeling I will be seeing Grandmother soon and I can’t wait to see what our conversation will bring.
//Suzannah Connel//2016 Ambassador