I had a few hours to kill, so I thought why not take that few hours to indulge in a good book over a pike brew. I took a seat by the corner, my favorite kind of seat where I can lean against the wall and watch the world.

People kept coming in to get a dose of caffeine to jump start their day, so I paid little attention to the queue of customers and their chattering.

But there was this little girl and her mother that came in. In didn’t notice them at first, till the girl walked past me and took the seat opposite me by the window. I happened to glance up from my book when she walked by my table, and was greeted with a big warm polite smile.

Immediately I thought this girl must be very well-mannered. She looked approximately 6 or 7 years old, dressed in a denim jacket, black leggings and a puffy black skirt that resembled swan feathers. She wore bright pink socks with what seemed like ballet shoes, and carried an air of confidence with each step she took.

Her mother was still in queue for a coffee, I would guess, so she bravely decided to take a seat on her own while waiting. What I love most in children is their public display of carefreeness. I watched her take the window seat, sitting gingerly at the edge of her chair with her legs stretched out, as though she couldn’t care less if that was considered dainty or not as long as it was the most comfortable sitting posture.

She sat there quietly eating her muffin, curiously looking outside the window at pedestrians crisscrossing each others’ path along the streets. Her mom must have lent her phone; the little girl played with it occasionally, and when her mom came to the table with her drink, she immediately returned the phone to her mother even without being asked.

Her dad must be out of town, because he video called his little daughter. She took the phone from her mother, delighted to see her dad’s face. She carried and articulated herself well, speaking with a tinge of excitement and zest, recounting the day’s events.

They spent a few moments talking; I didn’t hear what the mother was saying, but the little girl obediently listened. Her mother stretched her hand out to her daughter across the table, and the little girl immediately understood, stretching out hers and held her mother’s hand. She seemed so mature for her young age, sitting across her mother at the same table without fidgeting or squirming in her seat, responding to her mother in some grown-up fashion.

Though they were sitting some distance from me, I could feel the warmth of their parent-child love. I witnessed bliss at its purest form, and happiness at its simplest moment.

That’s how life should be right?

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Escapism at its best

The best part of traveling is exploration. You need to know where you’re going of course, but the actual route of getting around and finding your way is pure awesome. Watch where the crowds are heading, listen to what people are saying, talk. Ask for directions, get some recommendations of where you can get the best deal.

Challenge your less than perfect pseudo-American articulation as you ask bus drivers and passerbys for help, it’s part of the fun actually. Sometimes, you’ll get a weird facial expression as a response because your natural accent got the better of you and the poor chap has got no clue what you just said. Sometimes, you meet really nice people who tell you not just how to get around but even share a piece of their life story during your quick chat. Follow directional signs as they take you from place to place, or just roam the streets like a random stranger and walk into the first restaurant you see for brunch.

The little surprises that delights every waking moment, the adventure that awaits you at every corner. Loving it.