img_1580An unplanned stop to get a loaf of bread reminded me of the simple formula, and power of showing up.

Parallel to this reminder was the reminder that to get to true engagement or build relationships takes time. Something that in our ‘on demand’ world (where we can get many things instantly) we can be lulled into forgetting.

I’ve been going into this bakery near my place for at least 3 years. Possibly more. The women who work there (usually 3) know what I’m coming in for. These days greeting my entrance with,

Gandum. (Brown bread)

even before I’ve reached the counter. They occasionally ask me if I want to also buy something else. Sometimes there’s you’re everyday small talk, hot it is, and then I pay and go. However, this occasion was different…

The customary “gandum” greeted me as I stepped through the door, and I gave my customary, “iya“. Then when I got to the counter, 1 of the 3 said,

Kak Janice suka makan nasi nggak? (Sis Janice do you like eating rice?)

  1. I was like, since when does she know my name? Hmmm, maybe, because as they did with me a few seconds later about my friend, they asked somebody.
  2. I was actually feeling quite ill and just wanted to buy my bread and go. Totally not up to the chit chat. Told myself to be present, cos it was obvious that these ladies wanted to be in conversation with me.

So we chatted about whether I like rice, and whether I cook. I said that here not so much, as way cheaper to buy from the numerous options than to cook for one. Which, I went on to say, is totally different to the situation in the UK. As there, it’s way cheaper to cook for yourself. This segued into what Indonesian foods I liked or had tried. There surprise was evident at my liking many of the things they mentioned. They seemed to enjoy my added extras such as, I reckon nasi uduk is best at breakfast time.

They asked me the names of my friends who also regularly buy bread from them. Followed by telling me that they (my friends) order bread from them regularly, and hardly eat rice. Oh the Indonesian grapevine… (lol). We continued in conversation for a bit longer -mostly them extracting info from me- and then off I went.

It was as I paused outside the door for a moment before continuing onto my next stop, that the reminders I mentioned at the beginning came to mind.

As I said, I’d been showing up at this bakery on a regular basis for 3+ years. For some reason, on this day those ladies wanted to engage me in conversation.

  • Was it just an extra slow day, and so I was a welcome distraction? I kinda think not as the shop generally tends to be quiet.
  • Had they been wanting to ajak aku ngobrol for a while, but lacked the confidence or been unsure as to how I’d react? Maybe… though I hope my usually polite and cheerful demeanour each time I go in showed I wouldn’t react negatively to a chat.
  • Could it have been my 100th visit since I returned in October 2016, and so I got a bonus by way of extended conversation?  Could be  : )

Whatever the reason, if nothing else, it reminded me that sometimes we just need to be committed to consistently showing up. As by those who are taking notice, it is noticed. It’s also sometimes the thing that finally gets you a ‘look in’, an ‘open door’, that invite to coffee, a meeting with that key person, the connection or relationship you are trying to develop or build etc.

Now if you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know I’m not saying that there aren’t times to bring what you are doing to a close/draw a line under it /cut the tail off the monkey* etc. Cos sometimes you are faithfully showing up and no-one is taking notice, or nothing is changing.

Am just sharing that I was reminded that #Show up is a simple formula worth remembering. Maybe especially so, when in situations where you may be having to cross cultures, or bridges, possibly even barriers, of some kind.

Right, think it’s time to go eat some of that bread!

*Wait, don’t think I have shared that last idiom/concept yet! Promise to in another post : )