My previous post got me thinking; thinking about the little things, the little things that bring me joy, make me smile, make this move a little sweeter. And there’s one specific action that’s made this move so much sweeter, more personal—the simple act of strangers greeting one another.
Makarska is a port town with roughly 13,000 inhabitants. During the summer months, that number swells up significantly with tourists. But from October until Easter, the locals are the ones you’ll see in the stores, in the cafes, on the streets.
And it is in those spaces I have encountered the simple yet profoundly meaningful act of individuals greeting one another. And each time I witness it, it makes me smile.
The greeting comes in a few variations: Bok, Ciao, or Dobar Dan. Simple enough.
I witness it in my neighbourhood cafes. Every time someone enters the cafe or sits on the patio, there’s a greeting, an acknowledgment of those already seated.
I see it in the grocery stores. I walk in, and the person stocking the shelves greets me with a hello. The first time it happened, I had to pause. This was new. I mean, yes, it’s common for a cashier to greet me, but I don’t think I’ve ever been greeted by a person stocking the aisles in a grocery store.
And I see it on the streets. While walking by others, there seems to be a conscious decision made by both parties to make eye contact and acknowledge one another with a simple greeting, a quick hello. And then they move on.
I was born and raised in Canada. It’s not as if warm greetings are foreign to me. I’ve been fortunate to live and work in neighborhoods with a deep sense of community. And I have seen versions of this in those neighborhoods. But this seems different. It feels different. This time around, I felt a deeper connection during the exchange.
Over the last month, there has been a lot of activity in and around my apartment building. The tradespeople have been busy finishing the work inside and around the building. From day one, I have been greeted by all of them. We exchange greetings, talk about the weather (it’s a big deal here), share a joke, and then continue our day. It has been a great way to start my day. It brings about a sense of familiarity, a sense of home, a sense of belonging.
In a few weeks, most of them will be gone. The project will be complete. I will miss the morning greetings. But I know that as soon as I walk down the street, I will cross paths with a stranger, we will look at each other, smile, and say: Bok!
It’s the little things.