The Kitchen in APT A201



May 2015



It’s A Podcast Thing: Strangers

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I took the time to listen to Strangers last Thursday, and my first listen was titled Unconditional. Wow! What a deep touching story. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll use the description on the website. Unconditional is the “story of mothers, love, regrets and redemption, and of secrets from many years passed that cast long shadows in our lives. It’s about how Deborah Jiang-Stein came to be pulled over by two highway patrolmen at 19-years old, with a trunk load of dope, a .38 revolver and a 10″ switch blade…and that’s only the beginning.”

This might sound like a story about Deborah and her dangerous life, and whether or not she turned her life around, but it’s not. It’s a story that is first about mothers, lost, identity, love, regrets, redemption and secrets. Unconditional is a great starting point for Strangers.

I enjoyed listening to Unconditional so much that I wanted more of Strangers; and so I spent my whole Memorial Day catching up on old episodes, and you know what, I had a blast listening to it. Some of the stories were emotional, like A father’s story – Then And Now or Jenni, others were funny and cute, like The Cruelest Months. And there is the recurring theme of love. Singles looking for love, people having been hurt, and that includes Lea Thau the producer and narrator. Lea’s love story was painful, and her willingness and comfort to share this part of her life on a public podcast just did something to me. I think I began to have a lot of respect for this woman whom I knew nothing about. Respect for opening up to strangers. Too often people go through the same pain without knowing that they could find comfort in each other if only they would open up. Unfortunately the fear of being judged, and having the information we share being used against us keeps us in our cocoon with the fate of having no support, feeling alone and eventually taking a longer time to get to a better place.

Lea sure has a great talent for storytelling. Listening to each story brought me closer and closer to the Stranger family, and before I knew it, I was hooked! NPR hooked. Lea ends each episodes by requesting listeners to call and leave a message that will be played at the end of each episode based on the theme. Each episode is concluded with a a few voicemails from listeners around the world sharing their experience, giving encouragements, inspirations and more. It’s a nice final touch to the family feeling of the show. Almost like a ribbon on a gift box.

I sincerely hope you give Strangers a try. You will not regret it.

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