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Written 2008. in Podgorica, Montenegro - S. Hein
Yesterday two people
asked me questions beginning with "Why..." The
first one was "Why are you sitting on the
ground?" This was the first thing my assistant
Bronkitsa said to me when she saw me. Later she asked me,
"Why are you buying a pizza?" Then later a
friend of mine, Igor, said "Why didn't you take me
to Cetinje?" He added, "That was mean."
Decoding Marija's "Why" questions
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|Decoding Marija's "Why"
One day Marija and I were walking near the main plaza of Podgorica (rhymes with go for pizza) and we met a high school student named Ana. Ana told me that she had skipped school that day, the day before and she was planning to skip again tomorrow. Marija felt judgmental about that and she started interrogating Ana and giving her a lecture. At one point Marija said in a very disapproving tone, "Why don't you just drop out?"
Later I asked Marija if she thought Ana should stay in school or drop out. Marija said she should stay in school. Without realizing what she was doing, Marija probably permanently destroyed her chances of either being Ana's friend or having a positive influence in her life.
This happened about two months ago. To this day Marija feels very bad about what she did. I have been trying to be her "emotional intelligence coach", to put it in today's popular jargon, so we have talked about this "Why" question a few times now. I want Marija to feel what I will call "positive regret" for what she did. I want her to learn from it but not put herself down or feel bad about herself. Marija is a wonderful person with a big heart and a big smile. She usually makes nearly everyone feel good to be around her.
I personally enjoy and value my time with her, especially when she shows that she is really trying to learn new ways of communicating her feelings, and she is, by the way, an exceptionally passionate person when it comes to her emotions. This is one thing I love about her.
I felt motivated to write this piece this morning because Marija asked another "why" question last night. I had two backpackers from Bulgaria with me when I arrived at my hostel. Marija came to the door and they were waiting to be invited in.
Marija said, "Why are you standing outside?"
I believe what she meant was, "I would like you to come in quickly. It is cold out there and I feel bad for you standing out there. And you are very welcome inside. In fact, you are so welcome as far as I am concerned you don't even need to wait to be invited in."
Now I will go ask Marija to read this, and I will see if she will let me video tape her response!
Well I just found out she is still asleep. She is sleeping on the couch because the dorm room of my hostel is full.
So I will have to wait a while!
|Why aren't you carrying an
From 2009 in Romania
Hostel - 2012 note -- For two years I had a hostel in Montenegro. It was called Steve's Place. Now it has been re-opened as "Nice Place Hostel"