My friends are extremely important to me. They are there for me. They listen to me. Most of my friendships have evolved over long periods of time. It often takes me some time to open up to people and really let them see my true self. As time goes on, our conversations seem to get deeper and deeper until I feel like I can trust them with anything.
Over this spring break, however, I came to understand that friendships can occur without conversation. People can open up easily if they are willing to let others in.
Traveling to Sri Lanka, I worried about not knowing a single word of the language. I didn’t even know how to greet someone with a simple hello. I feared I would not make any lasting connections with the kids that I would soon meet. There was no reason to worry. It became apparent very quickly that friendship doesn’t have to be created through words.
Throughout the week with the children, a simple smile and wave were enough to send them running and screaming towards you. Being willing to play hours on hours of volleyball and clapping games were all they needed to give you love. They became my friends and I didn’t have to say a word. I could play with them for hours and I felt like I had opened up more then I do during most conversations.
I now come back to school with a new perspective on friendship. Maybe hours of conversation are not necessary for true connection. Maybe just adding a warm smile and wave are just as powerful as words. There is a very good chance that I will never see those kids again, but I know that our friendship and those laughs will stay with me. All I hope is that I can share their smiles with others.