Keep Life Random
Music, children, sunshine... the list could go on. Better question: what keeps us from being outwardly happy and friendly to the people that we meet? Springboarding off your last post, I think you're absolutely right about happiness being something that we tend to keep to ourselves in Canada. Outward friendliness is looked on with suspicion - if I smile at someone as I'm walking down Richmond, they look confused and do a double-take, wondering if they should recognize me. If I try to make friendly conversation with the cashier at Price Chopper, 9 times out of 10 I will be ignored because anything more than the required "how are you" is not part of their routine.
You're exactly right, Kendra.
I also agree, with both the blog post and Kendra's comments. After coming back from Tanzania, I could spend an entire (lonely) day not having a single conversation, not being greeted kindly by anyone, not laughing with a friend, not having my smiles returned and not hearing music in the world around me, despite my efforts. The walk from home to campus, the grocery store or even the local coffee shop is void of people and contact with people. It can be really depressing going from being surrounded by people all the time (also considering the population density and geography) to being far away from friends, family or just a friendly face. It's not that Canadians or Westerners aren't capable of this, it's just different.
I would agree that "different", not better or worse, is the best way to describe it here. The society and way of life is very different than what we would call the "norm" in Canada.
The students at school are good at greeting you with a smile and what not... maybe there is hope for the next generation.