The Kindness of Strangers

Posted on: February 4th, 2016 by Kate Perry 2 Comments

I lived in Buenos Aires for a little while a few years ago.

When I went, I knew no one, but I made friends quickly. Except on New Years everyone had plans and I didn’t, which bummed me out.

So I decided I was going to share champagne with someone and eat alfajores, regardless. I set out on a walk to the waterfront, knowing I was going to meet someone nice.

I didn’t meet anyone. At the stroke of midnight, I began to walk back to my room.

New Years is different in Argentina–people spend it with their families until after midnight, when they go out. Even the most famous spot, Cafe Tortoni, was closed.

Except when I was walking back, the hobbit door in the metal gate covering Cafe Tortoni’s entrance was open, and two men stood in front smoking and watching the fireworks.

One looked at me and said in Spanish, “Why are you alone?”

I shrugged and replied, “My friends abandoned me.”

“No one should start a new year alone. Come inside and have champagne with us.” He gestured to the hobbit door.

I studied the hobbit door and the two men. Then I smiled. “Okay.”

I spent the next three hours talking to the two nicest men ever. They brought me an alfajores from some secret stash, and we laughed and shared dreams and hopes and bubbles. It was magical.

The other night my new friend Courtney invited me over for dinner, and for dessert she set out a plate of cookies. I gasped when I saw they were alfajores, from Havanna, which is a popular cafe in Buenos Aires. I bit into one, and instantly I was warm and happy and surrounded by magic, just like that New Years night with those two kind strangers.

2 Responses

  1. Amy says:

    I loved this post, Kate Perry. Buenos Aires has almost a mystic quality about it. The most magical New Years Eves are always in S.America. (Then again I’ve never been to Paris…) But champagne and alfajores sound divino.
    I’ll be going there in a few days. Anywhere you want me to say ‘hola’ to?