I am much more social in Mexico than I ever was in the US. But then again the culture here is very interactive.

From 8:15 am to 8:45 am this morning these were the following exchanges:

I said hello to two old women on my way down to the Mercado. I stopped and bought a glass of fresh squeezed orange/carrot juice from Alberto. We both agreed that the day would warm up if the sun came out. I walked across the street and bought a tamale (verde) and learned that the woman’s teenage daughter, Catalina was on vacation in Mexico City. (Catalina has a smile that’s as warm as your grandmother’s hug.)

I stood across the street from the Mercado and ate while I watched some of the vendors setting up for the day. Then I bought a baguette on the other side of the street from Raphael and we exchanged New Year’s pleasantries.

I talked to Joselito to learn that his sister Maria was out of work. Joselito is crippled but still manages to work everyday selling newspapers with his 83 year old mother out of a stall on the edge of the Mercado.

I bought a small bag of new potatoes from an indigenous man who was selling his crop out in front of the cathedral. I crossed the plaza and bought the new Sunday Guadalajara newspaper. Then I stopped and had a few words with the barber, Manuel who was already cutting hair that early on a Sunday morning.

I exchanged good morning’s with 3-4 groups of women who were headed down the hill to the Mercado to do their daily grocery shopping.

Oh, and I was stopped by one of the combi ‘Gris’ bus drivers who showed me that he had put the Sahara Sandals decal that I had given him on his side window. (I use the ‘Grey’ bus line to get back and forth from the valley where I do my morning run.)

And I stopped to buy a bottle of water and then exchanged pleasantries next door with a waiter at the Plaza Restaurant.

A typical morning. A very typical thirty minutes.

PS – Ernesto – both a neighbor and Manuel’s partner at the barbershop – told me a couple of months ago that I respect the people and he told me that he (and others) appreciated that. It’s been my experience that when you go out with a smile on your face and have warmth in your heart then that is what is going to be reflected back at you.

PPS – That reminds me. I talked to Ernesto yesterday and he asked me how my New Year’s was going. I said, ‘I am in Mexico. The weather is beautiful. And the people are nice. How could life be any better than that?’ He smiled and told me thanks. And went on to say that was thanks for appreciating my life in Mexico.

I’ve often told my daughter that the only thing in life better than being happy was knowing that you’re happy (and why).