I met Antoine(from France) through my friends Josh and Jessica from Tennessee Technological University; Josh and Antoine were room mates in the house that belong to Carrie. Josh met Carrie through Connection. Connection is the group Paula and I founded almost 5 years ago. One day I invited Antoine to one of our karaoke nights with the international students, that is when he met other students from all over the world. Because of this interactions he started to go and played Racket ball with them where eventually he met people from his own country. In another occasion I invited him to a Christmas party at the house of my English professor—David Johnson—while I was studying at the Community College; Antoine realized he had something in common with Dave, and last night in his good bye party he played guitar with Dave and we had a good time singing and drumming.
This is a classical example of what I call Connectivity, in sociology it can be called “the snowball effect” that is produced when we roll a snowball downhill. The largest the network, the stronger it becomes; and when more people is involved, more friends we would have. In business they call it networking.
Connectivity is the discipline that help me meet people so I would connect with them through the simple decision of talking and opening my heart to someone I just met. “They enter to my house, my car or even my time as strangers, but they leave as good friends.”(a quote from Brennan Manning paraphrased by me ).
Connectivity is not about finding people that only think like me, but being able to make of my differences a source to learn from each other. Nasser, my good friend from Iran told me this morning something that helped me even more to contextualized this concept of being united thorough our differences instead of our commonalities, “Miguel when you were listening to Hector Black playing the piano, what did you hear? Music right? Did you ever hear to every single note he was playing?. When you visit a house, you always say ‘what a beautiful house you have!’ You never say, Oh your 128,000 bricks are so wonderful. When you meet someone, you like the person as a whole, not the millions cells he or she has.” It is finding yourself in the middle of seven French speaking people lost in translation at 4:00 in the morning.
Connectivity produces diversity and through diversity we learn to accept and appreciate our differences. If you we could learn this simple concept, our societies , our religious gathering, our families our friendships would be totally different. Peace comes not from finding common ground, but through the realization and respect of our differences. This Connectivity has helped me be introduced to so many people and has given me an opportunity to realize that I enjoy meeting others so, together, we can have a chance to help and learn from each other.
Antoine is going back to France, but even though he thinks he is going back alone, all these new friends, memories, times of playing music together, coffee and “horrible” singing time at Karaoke nights are traveling with him back home. For me, I can easily say that I have a house to stay in France—that is my hope—unless he forgets about ever meeting this crazy Mexican….That would be a whole new story, then I will try to talk about another concept to help me cope.