What happens at ‘N’

IT IS SUNDAY, 11.20AM, here in Hanoi just west of the Botanical Gardens. Not too hot, and I have one hour to get all the information together for everyone who is registering for ‘N’ Hanoi. I’m going to share the meetpoint, now confirmed, and set everything up for everyone who is making a commitment to themselves and to one another. So we can all show up for ‘N’ on Tuesday.

Tuesday.

That’s like… This week.

 


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WRITING FROM MY CAFE, ‘my place,’ I like to think of it. It’s under-designed, unpretentions, relaxed, and there’s a TV behind me that I’ve learned how to tune out. That bit reminds me of being at my parents’ house, where I learned to perfect this skill. This cafe is relaxed, a bit smoky for me, but chill. The people who run it, the women who seem to be related, are starting to know me. Today someone even said hello and waved me in. This is nice. Showing up has its merits. So being comfortable in a place starts with showing up enough times to get used to it, to be welcomed. The welcome is a big part of the design of high quality conversation-space, I feel. Even if today, right now, that conversation is with you, reading there, hey hey, the important part for setting up the space to write here begins with feeling like I’m in a place that’s relaxed, comfortable, where I can trust I’m safe. Welcome.

Since late May, I’ve been going around the city discovering little venues, small shops, tiny restaurants, and most importantly, new people. For the journey of ‘N’, the more I write publicly about it, isn’t so much about the ‘making N happen’ as it is trusting the process of discovering that, when you just go ‘out there, wherever there is,’ as RH put it so nicely that one time in Phnom Penh, then you just… you just happen upon the things you are meant to find, discover the spaces and learnings as and how they happen to make themselves revealed.

I promised to share on this blog about the programme for ‘N’. So you can see what’s going to happen. That’s… one way to see. But if you are wondering what ‘N’ is really like, I invite you to read a guest post from the lovely SR, who had attended the first ‘N,’ in Phnom Penh… Read what S said, in her guest post, ‘Skipping the awkward ‘get to know you’ phase’

BELOW IS A PIC from that same ‘N,’ originally posted on instagram by ‘N’ PP guest KGM, and shared by permission here. I almost never share pictures of what these events are like because… we have this one thing, where we ask people to put away their devices and phones and focus, instead, on being there. Real life. Conversation. Plus it’s hard to convey what ‘N’ experience is like.¬† Since it’s about, at least for me, the being there, and the moment of connection. Impossible to put into a digital summary, but hey, this pic, we thought, was pretty darn great. ūüôā K is, after all, a pro. More soon, especially if you’re on the invitation list already for ‘N’ Hanoi. TUESDAY, 27 June. (No? Get in touch to request an invitation.) To the journeys!


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‘N’ Phnom Penh (April 2015) // Photo: KM

Guest post: ‘Skipping the awkward get-to-know-you-phase’

GUEST POST from a guest of ’16N,’ our international conversation series of salons: ‘When we met, it was like we didn’t have a long awkward get-to-know-you phase, it was easy to chat and talk about less usual things.’

Published in S. P. A. C. E.

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A guest post today from Sarah Rhodes. Sarah had joined us at ‘N’ Phnom Penh, and reflects on that experience.¬†

WHEN I FIRST moved to Siem Reap, I was attending a lot of different events to meet different people and try and find my place and friends in a new city.

It was at one of these events where I met [DK], who was hosting ‘N’, an event that sounded a bit interesting, and although we¬†didn’t get to talk directly, it was a few days later that we ended up¬†having a great chat watching the sunset on a rooftop in Siem Reap¬†town.

Whether it was the first meeting or the sunset chat there was no doubt¬†that the connection had been made, so when I was visiting Phnom Penh¬†in April last year and it coincided with the ‘N’ event, I considered myself very fortunate.

Sunset

It was during this visit that I realised the other attendees of the¬†event had also had similar encounters with [DK], so it was no¬†surprise that when we all arrived for this event we found that we¬†automatically connected, as we had one main thing in common.¬†The way the event was organised was well thought through; from the¬†personal invitation, individually crafted official invitations,¬†creative activities which with facilitated conversation beyond the¬†usual ‘who are you?’ and ‘what do you do?’.

WHEN WE MET,¬†it was like we didn’t have a long awkward get-to-know-you phase, it was easy to chat and talk about less usual things. I met many interesting people that night.¬†I now have friendships with people in Phnom Penh from ‘N’,¬†after all a friendship is formed by first talking with someone, and¬†then talking with them again. —Sarah E. Rhodes (@saraherhodes)

Published in S. P. A. C. E.

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