Abuelo y Nieto (Grandfather & Grandson)
Today is my last full day in SMA. Quite frankly, I loved it here. There is a big expat community of both Americans and Canadians. I’ve found everyone, regardless of nationality to be friendly, open, and accommodating. I’ve enjoyed this international journey so much more than I did to Australia, where, as I mentioned, I found the people rather stand-offish. Anyway, different cultures. Of course, I had someone to show me around, introduce me to other people, etc; however, when I ventured out on my own, I noticed that people were just as friendly. I met complete strangers in the Jardin (The central garden in town were people come to hang out.), had conversations, etc.
I met one lady, Ci-Ci, in the internet cafe around the corner. We’ve run into each other 3 times, so far. This morning, we met again at the Mercado Organico, a weekly organic market where, it seems, most people in town come. I was greeted with a hardy hello and a nice, long hug. This is my kind of place. I’m greeted several times per day, on the street, with: Hola! Qué tal? (What’s up?).
This morning, during my walk, I noticed this grandfather and grandson walking down the street and it just spoke to me about what it is about here. It’s about family, not getting ahead. It’s about community. Over and over, I’ve heard the same story by expats. “I came here _____ years ago, and never left.” or “I came here _____ years ago, now I’m here every year 3 – 6 months”.
Even as I type this, I’m thinking about my return visit. I’ll probably come back, perhaps later in the year, or early next year, stay a month, or so, and work from here. I like this place. Besides, I need to work on my Spanish!