Stories on the edge of familiarity

World Tour, Day 3: Meet the People, Keep the Eye Contact

It’s raining right now. In Seattle. I know, so unexpected.

Today, I woke up after sleeping through everyone’s morning routine (I’m staying with Holli Margell, and it was a school day for her kids) (also, I’m sleeping on the couch, so everyone went past me to get to the kitchen. Ear plugs are the best things ever). I sort of woke up ish enough a few times to hear things happening and briefly wonder if I would wake up completely before falling asleep again. It was pretty cool.

In the morning, I got some VA work done (my “day job”). I’m still behind on hours for this week, but I’m getting caught up.

In the afternoon and evening, some of Holli’s family came over for dinner and we chatted about all kinds of things. Donald Trump was mentioned briefly. We talked a bit about Canada and what it was like to drive up to Alaska in the 80’s through the coastal mountains in B.C. Holli showed us pictures from her recent trip to Rwanda (you can see a video on her site about it).

It’s interesting, and I’m not sure if it’s just Holli’s family, but everyone here makes a lot more eye contact than I’m used to. Not because I’m all introverted and by myself a lot. :P Rather, it’s this uninterrupted eye contact thing.

I’m used to breaks in eye contact, or a certain amount of eye movement as people talk to each other. You want to have eye contact, for sure, but you don’t want to hold it too long. You want to give people a little space. So you look away a bit before coming back, let people have a moment in the flow of conversation to be with themselves and their thoughts as they process what they’re hearing or formulate words. Or for yourself to have a moment of those while you listen or speak.

Here, there aren’t those pauses. There might be flicks towards others to include them in the conversation or looking to others who are definitely also part of the discussion but, for the most part, it’s undivided eye gaze attention.

It’s interesting.

Not better or worse.

Different.

And not a difference I expected to find, which makes it all the more neat that I have noticed it.

We’ll see how much of a thing this is. One day with a handful of people who are related to each other isn’t much data, but it would be cool if a larger set of observations confirms this trend.

Hee. I like seeing cultural differences in action :D

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2 Responses to World Tour, Day 3: Meet the People, Keep the Eye Contact

  1. Cool! I wonder if reading this will change my normal patterns of eye contact when I see you. Hopefully, I’ll forget by the time you get here, and you’ll get relatively normal data for your observations. Heh heh!

    Really fun hearing your experiences on the trip!

    • Lol, it probably won’t, or won’t for long. It’s hard to change a default like that- you tend to slide right back to what you’re used to when you’re not paying attention. And I really don’t mind whether you do or don’t. I’m travelling for the purpose of experiencing new things and unfamiliar ways of doing things. If eye contact length is a thing that’s different, then cool. I’m totally up for it :)

      It’s fun to write about, too. I’ve never documented a trip before, and I’m really liking it so far :D

What are your thoughts?