When I was in Charleston 7 years ago, on my way to the grocery I saw this big man carrying his small daughter. Our eyes met (the child I meant :-) ), and she smiled spontaneously. It’s really hard to resist a beam from an angel like that :-), so my lips automatically formed a grin. The father who saw me smiling looked at his daughter, and when he found that she smiled, he also smiled at me. The mother that followed behind him also smiled, and the grandmother even took the time to stop and chat about how fine the weather that day was with me.
Now, it was in Pursat, and the ‘angel’ was a boy. I saw him standing with his father when I went to a market, and after looked at each other several times, we just start smiled at each other. The father who saw that also smiled at me, and later we were even waving at each other. We stood quite far from each other, so we didn’t have the time to hold a conversation - well, even if we were standing close enough, I think we still wouldn’t talk because of my Khmer lexicon that was limited to words such as fish, delicious, and thank you :-) - anyway, the smiling and waving really made me feel welcomed.
Regardless the culture, a smile, especially from a child, can almost always melt a heart. Maybe because they do it so sincerely, so it blows away all the suspicions. Even though it is one of the most primitive way of communicating, as long as it works, I don’t mind at all to always use it, because it can represent thousands of cordial words. The most sophisticated communication device could sometimes get in the way and ruin our communication anyway, so the trendy stuffs are not always the best :-). Moreover, Rana was really good at communicating using smile to me and Farah. He often used it after he did mischievous things such as emptying the box of tissue or tearing off a page from a book :-), and we usually just forgot about what he had done. Well, with a cherubic smile like that, who can hold a grudge against him for a long time? :-)
(Now I really miss Rana (and Farah too... :-) ) )