Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bus rides

I have a regular Saturday appointment on the opposite end of the city from where I live. It means that I spend at least two hours of most Saturday's on the bus.

This particular bus is always an experience. My favorite part is when, on the way north, we reach one particular stop in China Town. There is this sudden influx of very elderly Chinese women. The very air changes. What was a quiet ride is now filled with is suddenly filled with chattering in a foreign language, and the bizarre clash of cultural experiences nearly always makes me want to laugh.

There is "white people" bus etiquette. If there is an empty bench seat, take that one, not the one that already has someone sitting in it. Don't shout across the bus - stand or sit near the person you're talking to. Talk in low tones.

All of these "rules" go out the window when the bus hits China Town.

And the sudden mixture of cultural norms simultaneously makes me uncomfortable and happy. Because, on this bus, on the way to and from my appointment, I am reminded of the world I fell in love with, and I'm fascinated by and pray for the people and cultures I encounter.