It’s been real spring here for several weeks, and we’ve had lots of sunshine and warm weather. I’ve been out more, taking afternoon walks, and I have noticed something. People are happier than they were in the winter. I was so used to walking with my eyes looking down, or away from people, but now I notice that I can get almost half of the people I pass to give me a slight smile. An occasional Grüezi, too. On Monday I decided to walk down through the Niderdorf and take some pictures. I saw this fountain which someone had strewn with flowers. A woman was taking photos of it, so I thought that would be a nice thing to do, too. She started talking to me as I stepped up to the fountain, and at first I didn’t know what she was saying (I think it was about how pretty the fountain was), and soon I figured out that she wanted me to take a few pictures of her with the fountain on her phone. We actually carried on a conversation for over a minute. I told her that her face was in the shade, so perhaps she should move into the sun, and maybe push back her hat. Okay, maybe my German sentences weren’t so elegant, but she didn’t feel the need to switch languages. We parted with a cheery Schönen Tag.
Then on a recent tram ride I ended up standing next to a father and his daughter who looked to be about 8 months old. Daughter was not happy sitting in her Kinderwagen, so he took her out and stood her on the ledge. Father and I exchanged smiles, and then I did a little peek-a-boo with the baby who kept wanting my attention. We had a wordless 10-minute ride with plenty of smiles from all three of us. At the end we exchanged a Schönen Abend and a wave. These are the two most memorable of the handful of exchanges I’ve had lately, but it reminds me to keep my face up and see if I can bring even a small smile to someone’s face as we pass.