As I walked around aimlessly wondering what to do next, I spotted a young woman of Chinese heritage sitting at a charging point, she had about three appliances plugged in, so I sat at the table, smiled, and asked her if I could borrow her charger when she was finished. I had no idea how long she would be around, but I was secretly hoping at least long enough for my phone to charge fully. She offered me her battery pack and I thanked her.
As I was about to start reading my book another lady joined us. This charging point, with the spacious table and high stools, was a magnet. She plugged in too, and a few minutes later another lady joined us. There were now four of us, two on either side of the table.
It’s a shame that the names of these women escape me, but that is what menopause can do. Plus, I had no idea that I would be inspired to share this experience. The young woman of Chinese heritage had just completed her criminology degree and was trying to extend her stay in the USA by finding employment as a Police Officer, and she was literally applying in any of the 50 states where she could find an opening. She had already failed a selection test in Boston and was now about to try again in California. She told me how on the last occasion she drove for two days interstate, and that her parents had come to visit and did the trip with her. She was a product of the one-child policy and she told us how she felt responsible for her parents and how much they were looking forward to her being married. I could not visualise her out of that tracksuit and doc martins and into a wedding dress to be fair.
The second woman who joined us told us about her family of four children, two of whom were from her previous marriage, and two were from her husband’s previous marriage. She showed us photographs of her family and explained how the children were all in their mid-teens, and she and her husband parented them all the same, and how lucky she felt that things were working out so well. She was headed back home to Canada where she now lives and works as a college lecturer teaching Spanish. I asked her about Trump and the wall, when she told us that she was of Mexican heritage. She said that he was hilarious and that the wall was no more than a gimmick because the Mexican Government would not be paying for it. She mentioned the immigration changes and the challenges with Mexican students who no longer had a safe place in the USA.
The fourth person to join us was a woman of mixed Nigerian and English heritage from London and she had married an American and relocated to California. She was launching her interior design consultancy, whilst juggling a young family of two little girls, and was rushing back from New York in time for her little daughter’s school performance the following day. Her husband worked as an architect. She spoke about herself and her brother growing up in Nigeria and her mother being white English and cooking delicious Nigerian Food which she liked too, and looked forward to when she visited them in London. The way her flight was scheduled, she would need to literally get off the plane and go straight to the school.
We all ended up having a really lovely conversation about politics, work, food, parenting, and culture. We went off at different times knowing our hand luggage was looked after and we brought back snacks and water to share. The lady going to Canada made a pillow with her arms and a scarf and dozed off for a while. I can’t sleep in those conditions so stayed up all night with the other three. One by one we hugged goodbye and said we would stay in touch, as we departed for our respective flights, exchanged numbers and took a few photographs. We never did stay in touch, but I had a really unforgettable pleasant experience with three random strangers.