When I went to get a coffee, I was able to joke with the barista, and have a conversation with the person in line behind me.
Doesn't matter what the conversation was about. Just remembered that I like to talk to strangers.
Not being able to (talk to strangers) was probably the single biggest culture shock for me in France. I remember my first week there, I tried telling the baker how much I liked the package she had wrapped up for me. I tried to say something like "tres jolie," but apparently got it wrong, because it took about ten more minutes to pantomime that everything was okay, and I wasn't complaining, and yes I wanted what I had purchased.
It is nice to understand what is going on around me here.
On the negative side though, now I'm getting all kinds of "news" wherever I go. And news here is (almost) always sensationalized & bad.
But I like being able to understand.
Update: We have arrived in Houston. School starts on Tuesday. Once I get everyone to their proper locations, I am taking the day OFF!!!