I’ve been working in Belgium this year. Typically I take flight out to Brussels every Sunday night or Monday morning. And take the flight back to London late afternoon every Friday.
I work with a great bunch of people: Jeroen, Martijn, Patrick, Rupert, Arun, Prashanth, Alexandra……. They show up and travel in a manner that leaves me feeling welcome, respected, part of the team.
There is something special about Alexandra. She kind of ’embraced’ me without ever having met me. How by ringing me whilst I was recovering from back surgery.
Upon my return to work/Brussels Alexandra made me feel welcome by seeking me out and taking me out to lunch. Not just once but several times. Now and then when she takes a break and goes out for a cigarette she invites me along. Sometimes I take up her invitation.
This week Alexandra invited me to her home. I found myself both surprised and delighted. Why surprised? “She hardly knows me!” Why delighted? She trusts me enough to invite me to her home; and she finds me sufficiently interesting to invite me to her home.
The result? I spent a lovely evening at her place. I met her son: a beautiful young fellow, alive, curious, playful and intelligent; he enjoys chocolates; and loves his mother. I got to learn a little about her partner. Alexandra also shared some of her life with me. Being English I tend to be somewhat reserved yet I found myself telling Alexandra about some aspects of my life.
What is there between myself and Alexandra? Gratitude! Gratitude for what? For being the first and only Belgian person who has invited me into her home, her family, her life. For puncturing my sense of being a stranger in this land.
I invite you and I to play big by embracing a stranger the Nicula way! Who can you invite into your life and by so doing touch his/her life for one lunchtime, for one evening, or for a lifetime?
And finally, I dedicate this conversation to Alexandra Nicula – a remarkable woman. And someone who now shows up for me as a friend. Thank you Alexandra for your kindness, your generosity, and your way of being – which I find refreshing and inspiring.