101 Days, 101 Strangers, 101 Stories: Day 40

Tonight, I met up with my stranger of the day at… her birthday party.

As you can imagine, it was an interesting meet and greet when I first arrived:

Me: “How do you know Jess?”

Jess’s friend: We’re both studying in the same program. How do you know Jess?

Me: I don’t.

I met Jess very, very briefly at a café a couple of weeks ago. She was with a friend of mine and seemed like an interesting person (spoiler alert: she is). So I explained my project and asked her if she’d be willing to be my stranger of the day sometime. She said sure. We exchanged names and contact info initially, and then she was kind enough to invite me to her small birthday gathering without even really knowing who I am. I still cannot fathom how amazing strangers can be.

Jess is from Toronto, but she’s studying engineering at UBC.

I had a lot of fun with her and her friends tonight. She was smiling the entire time, spreading such a positive and endearing energy with everything she did.

When we got to playing charades, I asked Jess’s friends to tell me some funny stories about her before acting out their parts. They did, and it was pretty hilarious.

I learned that Jess is a big fan of her professors. She even dressed up like one of them for Halloween, which was a big hit but (un)fortunately the professor never ended up noticing. She also falls asleep in class every now and then.

But even from spending such a brief amount of time with her and her friends this evening, I was able to formulate a bit of a narrative of my own for Jess:

She’s incredibly fun to be around, and not in an overpowering, spotlight-demanding kind of way. She’s full of creative ideas and open to new ones, too. She is incredibly thoughtful. She puts others before herself to make sure everyone is having a good time, and she’s super easy going. Example: at one point in the evening she said, “should we move all the stuff out and do a flash dance?” Inevitably, our answer was yes, so we cleared out the living room and danced.

jess! 2
Jess, mid-dance, as captured by her friend Jolene as my phone had been feeling a little bit suicidal.

 

Her life advice? “Just chill.” She went on to explain that everyone around you is trying to live, too, and so we should just relax and treat everyone with kindness. It really can be that simple.

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