The most remarkable person I ever met while travelling.... Grew on Me

The most remarkable person I ever met while travelling was a Wanderlust writing challenge I took part in a while ago. Now they are removing all the writings I thought I'd use it as a blog post here. This was inspired by their forum but about the writer's retreat I went to in Barcelona.

The most remarkable person I ever met while travelling.... Grew on Me

I'm not a naturally chatty person, unless I've had a glass of wine or
two, so it's with some trepidation that I enter new places and meet
new people. That day when I walked into a hotel reception in
Barcelona and met the group of lady writers with whom I'd share the
next five-day Writer's Course is a snapshot in my mind.

The course leader and 3 other ladies were there waiting in reception,
they'd already checked in. I'd arrived last. I'm good at that. Be the
last and stay at the back ready for flight. We mumbled greetings,
unsure, ill at ease. Then the lift door opened and a short, loudly
dressed lady glided towards us. Huge smiles, talking. She never
stopped. Even her writing rambled on. She wrote two, three times as
much as everyone else, just the way she talked. Putting everyone at
ease. Talking to people, not at them and conversing not
communicating. I usually find talkers boring. It's often an exercise
in listening. But to give her a name, Jeannie was a breath of fresh

Loud, colourful, amusing and cuddly. Her rumbunctiousness was refreshing
and contagious. Putting people completely at the same ease as she
herself was in her skin. Over the days I learnt a lot about her life
and childhood, her battles, her scars and yes, her insecurity at
times. I found myself staying in her company, even wanting it.
Whereas I'm normally happy to escape groups as soon as possible for
some me time, some breathing time.

I answered her sensitive nosey-ness with honesty, not deflecting back
to the talker and filler of silences. She wanted to know, was
interested in everybody. So I didn't avoid and evade personal
questions. I didn't gulp quickly and duck and dive. It must have been
my time. I'm into five decades, but five days with this lady gave me
confidence, helped me grow up and admire others for who they are
because of what they've been through. I grew up. I realised it's okay
to be me. I am who I am and have a choice of how to be, how to act
and how to behave. I am not what I was. I am not my mother or a
harrassed wife or a bad parent.

As a group we wrote more personally because we felt safe. We opened up,
laughed, cried and shared such intimacies I'd never dreamt I'd do,
let alone to those who'd been strangers a day or two before. This
growing, sharing experience wasn't because of us individually but
brought about through the personality of a larger than life, caring,
sharing person - Jeannie. A grandmother figure who collects, covers
and hugs everybody in her path. Even our waiter came to say goodbye
to her when we left. An example of living life to its fullest and
loving all. It's amazing and a blessing how remarkable people are and
how the remarkable Jeannie taught me to see and treat every day as a
new, bright and sunny beginning.

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