"The only thing keeping you from being happy is the belief that you are alone"
- Ana Draper (Mad Men)
A lack of community spaces and career driven culture means that Americans are too often living in isolation. In North Florida, a region that is defined by it's massive size, suburban sprawl and Southern politeness, that feeling is only exacerbated.
Recently, we at GlobalJax came across this TedX Talk from 2015, in which Kalina Silverman talks about the isolating experience of being in a new place and her initial discomfort with sharing personal details, especially her deep longing for personal connection with others. It's a compelling presentation with helpful guidance on how to get past the small talk during your next conversation with a new friend - international or otherwise - by asking a personal, but not too personal question totally unrelated to the weather.
For interacting with International Visitors we might also suggest, "What is one thing would you like to see happen in your country before 2020?" or even "What is one thing you wish the U.S. knew about your country?" Or for new arrivals, "What do you miss most about your home?" or "What's one thing you want to do while you are here?"
Whatever your questions, Silverman makes a great case for skipping the small talk.
And for the international enthusiasts, adventurers, foodies and new arrivals whether from across the country or across the world, GlobalJax provides a space for genuine multi-cultural connection. Through events for short-term international visitors, local students, business leaders and new arrivals GlobalJax provides a space for the curious living in North Florida to find others who share their appreciation for the numerous cultures that shape our world.
If you love to travel and learn about history and cultures, you are not alone.
If you love to try food that is wildly different than your own and learn about what that means for the people who create it, then you are not alone.
If you are curious about the world and how other people live, you are not alone.
If you have ever lived outside the U.S. and miss the friends you made, the food you shared, the music and the art that belongs to those places, then you are not alone.
If you were born and raised in another country, you are not alone. North Florida is home to immigrants from virtually every corner of the globe. If you can't find others who speak your language or share your holidays, GlobalJax would love to help welcome you to our region.
And everyone, try skipping the small talk, and let us know how it goes in the comments section.
The work we do has never been more important — whether it’s because of ongoing conflict or "news" that tells just part of the story - now more than ever, we need connection, conversation, and global perspective. Click here to learn more or to support GlobalJax's efforts to create a more globally connected, informed and vibrant region.