Dinner at Jim’s

Oct 7, 2014 by

          “What’s your name again?” Jim asked me.

          “Maria,” I smiled.

          “Maria! Meet – ” he began before pausing, his arm stretched out in the direction of a redheaded girl.

          “Savannah,” she finished for him.

          “Savannah!” he repeated after her. “Savannah, meet Maria.”




          On Sunday night, I had dinner at Jim’s. You may be wondering who Jim is. So was I until I arrived at his home. Jim has been hosting Sunday dinner parties at his place in the 14th for decades. To join, you simply send him a message to request a spot on the Sunday of your choice. If there’s room, you’ll receive an email with directions and a requested donation of €30 (though he accepts more or less). I found out about dinner at Jim’s via Google on the day I arrived in Paris, and I was RSVPed before leaving the airport. I took to Google for ideas on how to meet people instantly upon landing because, as I see it at home, I am responsible for my own social life. Travelling solo without knowledge of the local language is no excuse not to socialize.

          Given the open nature of these dinner parties, attendees are primarily there to meet new people – a welcoming environment for a solo traveller. Most guests do not already know each other, creating grounds for ample conversation. In fact, most people don’t even know Jim, but he’s excellent at connecting people he doesn’t know to people he doesn’t know. As soon as I walked in, I was introduced to someone from somewhere. From that point on, I was in constant conversation with people from around the world: France, England, Australia, the US, Sweden, and various other countries.

          True, I’ll probably never see most of them again, but I had dinner amongst at least 30 new people on Sunday night despite the fact that I’m travelling solo. Those strangers were my friends for the night. While travelling, especially while travelling alone, you have to be cool with strangers being your company for an evening. I am, because I befriend strangers at home. The difference between mingling with strangers while on the move, though, is that you go in knowing these strangers are more likely to remain one-night friends. You have to be open to talking to them anyway. You have to talk to them for the potential that any new person has to mean something to you, whether you see them again or not. You have to talk to them because this is one of the reasons you ventured across the ocean: to meet different people that live different lifestyles. You have to talk to them simply because they might have something beautiful to say.

Happiness Tip: Meet strangers through strangers.

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