We have become so accustomed to the ways of the city that our interactions have become nearly unconscious, happening at a level below our normal awareness. I note this because I just watched one of our group nearly invisibly fit into the seam of the city’s patterns as she – without even glancing at the passerby – moved just enough for him to slide past her in the aisle of the train as she stood talking to one of our group. This type of transaction happens a million times a day in any city, and our group member had just participated in number 1,000,001.
Still, that sort of dance move would have been impossible six or seven weeks ago. The exchange would have been much more disruptive, muc more out of the city’s ordinary rhythm and flow. The American, especially our particularly suburban group, would have required being aware of the oncoming person’s presence, would have made to eye contact in acknowledgement, and a far greater move would have been executed, exhibiting much more nervous energy and perhaps even a touch of anxiety.
Instead, our group member simply subtly shifted her weight towards the door, and the Roman shifted his hips sideways and slipped past. She had without making any obvious movements perceived the amount of several factors – physical, emotional, psychological – and perfectly immersed herself in the ebb and flow of the movement without appearing to even notice the interaction/iteration.
This dance is just another element of the learning experience and growing competency and maturity and expertise of the Walsh study abroad student experience.