Challenge: meeting 150 strangers in 30 days

Could you imagine the ultimate stay­at­home nerd turning into a socializing machine in just 30
days?
Yes, you heard me right ladies and gentlemen: 30 freakin’ days! If you always struggle with your
pathetic social life like I did before these 30 days, then this story is definitely for you.
Three weeks ago, my host gave me a challenge: talk to five strangers a day for 30 days.
Since strangers won't just show up at my door, this meant I had to go outside and that’s why I
hated this challenge at first. Home rules, the outdoors suck and it took away my precious cozy
time with the most sacred things in life: Netflix, pizza and Coca­Cola.
The next day, I reluctantly went to a grocery store nearby. As soon as I walked in, I just went
straight to the freezer in the hopes to put an end to this farce as soon as possible. I asked a
woman I saw for the best game­day pizza and she recommended one with cheese inside the
crust.
I bought it, and guess what? It turned out to be the best pizza I’ve had in years.
I know that sounds dramatic but I guess that pizza reminded me of how great it feels to be
courageous once in awhile and step outside my comfort zone.
However, my last day of the challenge sticks with me the most.
I was at the bus stop, and there he was: the French guy. Yeah, that’s right, he was a student
from France. I once saw what he posted on Facebook and he sounded exactly like the kind of
guy who could be my BFF and share croissants with me every day.
I started the conversation by acting dumb and asking him if I missed the bus. Unfortunately, he
simply told me I hadn’t missed the bus. That was it. Conversation over.
I knew I had to think fast, so I pulled off another trick that I’d learned over the course of the
challenge: to compliment something he was wearing. Luckily, he had a really cool jacket, so I
dropped the compliment and the conversation was on, baby!
We talked about many things, like life in the U.S., our hometowns and what we hoped to get
from studying at SCC. He even taught me how to speak some French! The whole trip was both
fun and fascinating. He was definitely one of the nicest guys I’d ever met and I would have
never had this amazing dude in my life if it wasn’t for the challenge.
The challenge also got me thinking: Are the strangers I talked to really that strange after all? I
mean, I’m able to talk and get to know them because they happened in my life, right?
These so­called strangers are people like the old man I saw every Monday morning at the bus
stop, or the Chinese Student who spent over two months in the same classroom with me but I
never bothered to talk to... They were all, in fact, right next to me the entire time I’d been here.
This challenge gave me a reason to interact with these people and who knew what could
happen? They might tell me an exceptional life story of theirs. They might even change from a
stranger to someone very special in my life (I’m looking at you, French guy).
And I wouldn’t want to miss out on any of them.

_Calvin Li

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