Saturday, February 20, 2010

Joy Without Borders. The Mexico Diaries: Part 2

I am a people watcher. I love just observing the way people interact with each other. But there is something extra delightful about observing that interaction when you cannot speak the language. And this is something that I was able to experience in Mexico. I had to rely less on the obvious which of course are actual words and more on expressions, body language and voice tone.

One particular day, I was able to just swim in the ocean alone without being involved in a conversation of my own. My sweetie was off kayaking and I was left to just be present with my surroundings. There was a happy group of Spanish speaking young adults cheerfully preparing to take a group photo. They all had their arms swung around the shoulders of the friend beside them, the girl taking the photo giving instruction and motioning for them to squeeze together.

To my left a little girl in an inner tube squealed as her father pulled her slowly through the soft waves. He spoke calmly and lovingly to her in French and the little girl laughed in delight.

A young woman in a bikini was beginning to enter the ocean. Her boyfriend coaxing her in Russian to come out into the water. She, on tip toes, shoulders hunched high, trying to keep the ocean water from hitting her belly too soon. Of course as soon as she got close enough, he began to splash her with abandon causing her to screech at him but still laughing. Encouraged by this, he then quickly went to her and gave her a full body hug and drug her shoulder deep into the water, rewarding him with more screeches of protest.

Are any of these profound experiences? No. And that's the part that struck me. There are few people that could have watched these interactions and not felt a sense of understanding. We know how it feels to be in those situations. We don't need to know anything about those people. We don't need to understand the language. But simply, we do know what it's like to pose for a group photo with friends.

We often get very caught up in the politics and religion of the world. We feel the need to protect what we believe is exclusively ours and condemn those that don't think the way we do. The idea of us against them. I do realize there are people that are out to hurt, out for power and control and we do need to be careful. But there are so many more who just want to live life and experience simple, everyday joys.

When you are able to go to a place and watch people from several countries all swimming together, speaking their own languages, having fun, it's really apparent how much we are the same. There were no boundaries. No upset. Just joy. If language didn't exist. These people would not look any different from anyone you'd see in your own town.

It's really refreshing after going through the airport checkpoints, the pat-downs and reading all of the travel horror stories to know that the whole world isn't made up of people looking to take advantage of you, steal what you have, or control the way you live your life. Those people exist. Yes, that is true. But there is the other percent. And that's the one I will keep my eyes on. The ones that speak to what I hold dear, friendship, family, and happiness.

There is something very comforting about knowing that, no matter where you are from in the world, you can count on some things easily transcending borders. Friends will always be joyfully posing for group photos, fathers will be entertaining their children, and of course, there will never be a shortage of young men, willing to splash young girls just to hear them scream.

1 comment:

  1. You really are a great writer. I think I say that every time I comment, don't I? When you have a sec, can you pop over to my blog and vote on my poll please? xoxo Liz


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