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Same place, stronger connection

Raaaachel Wang's picture

Race and class and gender remain as real as the weather. But what they must mean about the contact between two individuals is less obvious and, like the weather, not predictable.

This is what June Jordan said in Report from Bahamas.

Looking at this sentence, I suddenly think of Jack. Jack is my schoolmate and one of my best friends in high school. We met each other in senior year. After simply chatting with each other, we found that we’re both from Pudong new district in Shanghai. (Shanghai is a large city, there are more than ten districts in Shanghai, and Shanghai is so big that even we all say Shanghainese, the dialect may sound different in different districts). And soon we found out the we live in the same neighborhood, and we found that we have so many things in common. 

We soon become close friends.

This makes me believe one of the many ways that determines people’s connection is geography. By geography, I mean that people come from the same place tend to have and build closer connection between each other.

People used to distinguish people into groups by race or color because in the past. It’s very common that people in the same race live together and share common living environment, which made them have similar experience and background. But the world is changing, so are the environments and human beings. Nowadays, with the developments of technology, people no longer have so many geographical limitations. And year by year, people in different races or class integrate with each other and the line between different races is weakened day by day. People in totally different race may live together and share similar experience and environment. And people in same race may have totally different living

environment and life experience. How can we two people must be close to each other just because of their race?


Back to my story. After we found that our home is only 1 mile away from each other, we talked to each other more. I found out that his best friend is my middle school classmate, and his another friend’s girlfriend went to the same primary school as I did. And when conversations went deeper, we found that we both like Agatha Christie’s novel, we listen to the same band, and both of us like to spend our time in the same library (There’s a large chance that maybe we already met each other long  time ago.) 

Not only Jack and me, many of my classmates made friends with people from their own districts more than those from other districts.

I start to think why, after reading Report from Bahamas.

For me, coming from the same place means having similar living environments and backgrounds. And environment forms a person’s style. By style, I refer to the way one treats other people and the way she or he think of the world. And not only human beings have their own style, a environment, to be specific, a neighborhood has its own style as well. For example, Jack and I both live near Lujiazui, which is the CBD of Shanghai. People here rush their life. They rush to work, rush to lunch, they always walk fast and talk fast. And living here for more than ten years, both of us tend to rush everything at school. We both eat fast and walk fast.

Also, people from the same place tend to have similar experience, which makes them understand each other better and have more common topics. Still use Jack and me as example. First, I should mention that there’s a common phenomenon in China that from kindergarten to high school, most of the students go to cram schools at weekends. And in Pudong, most of the education institutes are gathered near a shopping mall called Babaiban. So there’s a joke among Pudong students: all the

education institutes have a same name: ‘near Babaiban’. This is because every time when people ask ‘Where do you attend cram school at weekend?’ students from pudong always answer ’near Babaiban’. 

So one day in high school, two of my classmates were talking about cram school, and when one ask another: ‘Where is it?’ Jack and me burst into laugh at the same time. The two classmates looked at us just as staring at two monsters.

What’s more, people from the same place tend to be placed in the same network of interpersonal relationships. Besides the two example I mentioned above, Jack and me also found several people that have connections with both of us which we weren’t aware of before we became friends. And this kind of interpersonal relationship network strengthen the connection between people to a large extend.

To sum up, similar life style formed by similar environment, similar experience and common topic, overlapped interpersonal network make people from the same place tend to have stronger connection between each other. And since two people from the same place may feel more cordial with each other when first meet, they tend to communicate more afterwards, and this makes them build more and more strong interpersonal relationship. In a word, it’s like a circle. People meet, people talk, people feel connection, and then they talk more, and then they build stronger connection.

And in response to June Jordan, I would like to say that, one of the way to predict two individuals’ contact is to check if they come from the same place. If they do, they’re very likely to have closer contacts than with other people.

Oh, by the way, one last words, Jack’s my boyfriend now.