I may be strange (I’ve accepted this fact about myself!) , but I really thrive on the connection I feel when people around town begin to recognize me and remember who I am. This is just beginning to happen and when it does It just makes me so happy. I’m getting to know several of the people who work in some of the places I frequent, like the butchers in Romero’s, the lady who pumps my gas at the gas station, the guys at my favorite stalls in the produce market and the security guards at my bank, just to name a few. Yesterday I had a great chat , (well a ‘chat’ of sorts) with both the butchers at the Chicken side of the meat counter as well as the nice man on the sliced lunchmeat counter. The chicken guy who is normally pretty serious looking, not a big smiler, suddenly became very very smiley and friendly when I apologized to him for my lousy Spanish (in Spanish!) and told him that in a year my Spanish would be much better (Mucho Mejor!)! He told me that he has learned a little English and agreed that it is very hard to learn another language! I suspect from now on I will get many more of those nice smiles from him when I go to buy my Chicken. Then the guy at the sliced meat counter helped me learn how to say 1/4 Libra of Canadian Bacon. I normally stick to ‘un libra or media libra’ but was not prepared to throw in 1/4 libra…he gave me a very good lesson and I wrote it down on my little pad of paper I always carry with me. I told him he was my new Profesor de Espaniol! He laughed and said something I didn’t understand one bit!! Hah! I got “Nada”! Oh well! Again, very ,very friendly and helpful! At first they seem kinda annoyed and not happy but when I attempt to talk to them boy do their faces light up! Oh, and I must tell you about the sweet teller at the cash register and the bagger. Again, they are always nice enough but not especially friendly. Yesterday I was buying one of those great big 5 gallon jugs of water and It was my first time buying one so of course I didn’t know what I was expected to do as far as , do I lift it out of my cart and put it with the rest of my groceries to be scanned, or just leave it in the cart? I asked and I thought she said yes (meaning, yes, put it up here), so I lifted it and she and the bag boy both quickly stopped me…’No!, No! No Necesasita!” OOOOPS! I laughed really hard and immediately put it back down. The bagger even sort of dashed over to help me..oh boy, another embarrassing moment! So I said..”Oh Loco Gringa!” and they looked at each other and we all laughed! Just today, I ran in to Romero’s to get some Cilantro and there was that bagger, saying Hola! Como Esta? to me like we were old friends! Love That!! The lady who pumps my gas is beginning to remember me when I go there. Just this week we had a little chat (again, of sorts!) about our Hair! Hah! She asked me if my curls were natural? She’s so sweet, I really like getting to know people. Do you remember how nervous I used to be when I went to the Mercado, (the produce market)? Well, today I ran over to find some Jalapeños . I marched right up to my favorite guy, Benjamin , and said, without any hesitation (mind you, I had said it at least a hundred times in my head before I got there!) “Tiene Usted Jalapeños picante ?” And dontcha know…I got a smile and a big bag of Jalapeños! Whoot! Whoot! And there was a time, not so long ago , when I very nearly had tears welling up in my eyes trying to make myself understood. He was very clearly pleased by my progress too.
I can’t help it, I’m just the kind of person who needs to make connections with almost every person I come into contact with. I know, some people may think that sounds ridiculous..it’s not that I need to make friends and have everyone over for dinner…but I really like getting to know people and I find every person has some redeeming quality to share. It may just be a nice smile or a great sense of humor, ya just never know what may be hiding behind that face that, until that moment was unfamiliar to me. Sometimes there are folks who are not at all interested in being friendly and thats okay, one day , who knows, they might be glad to get a friendly smile from me and may eventually even decide to give me one in return. A friendly Hola, or around here it’s “Buenas”, doesn’t cost a cent, and a smile goes a long ways. The warm response I get everyday when I’m out and about is more valuable than anything. And I don’t mind being remembered as the “Loca Gringa” 🙂 Just being remembered is great , in my mind! Hah! And as time is passing I’m really beginning to feel the familiarity blooming! This part of my Adventure will only get better as time goes by. So, I’ll keep trying to learn to speak Spanish and I’ll say “Buenas” to every person who makes eye contact with me, which I may add, is nearly everyone I see, they are just my kind of friendly people! You get back what you put out in this world and I’m getting a world of kindness and blooming familiarity!!