I took a walk on someone else’s street, someone else’s everyday avenue, in someone else’s city. To me, it was all new. I’d never seen the buildings before, or the trees, and the next corner was a complete mystery that drew me on to look and discover. I didn’t know anyone who lived there, or who their cousins were, or what church they were baptised in. But they knew.
I’ve always enjoyed visiting different cities. I like to see how people live, what kind of houses they build, and what they choose to plant in their gardens. Seeing these things reminds me that the world is a lot bigger than my own little corner. But it also reminds me that the world is small, full of little corners, full of lives lived in little houses and the little, ordinary repetitions like running to the shop for milk and cutting the same little patches of grass and taking the children, again, to the playground at the local park. The trees might be different varieties and the houses built in different styles and the food might be cooked with different flavours—but even though these places are not my places, they still feel somewhat familiar because living is living, everywhere you go.
The world we live in is big, but most of our living in it is small. When I walk on streets that are strange to me, I’m reminded that someone—a stranger to me like I am to them—knows these streets just as well as I know my own street in front of my own house, and the shortest path to the nearest coffee shop. I like their coffee shops. But mostly I’m thankful for my own, and the people I see there, my friends, my community, in my own little corner of the world.