Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A sense of belonging

Recently I was standing in the checkout line at a supermarket near my house. The employee who was scanning my groceries recognized me and greeted me by name, which made me smile.

As I waited for her to tally my purchases, I began singing quietly to the song playing in the store. Before long I wasn’t the lone vocalist, and I turned to grin at the guy next to me—a tico with flamboyant clothes and a faux-hawk who owns the salon a few doors down and occasionally cuts the girls’ hair. He has a very cute little dog named Paris who runs around the strip mall and is so fashionable he gets his tail dyed—usually pink or light orange. The kids love to see Paris and we usually stop for a moment to tell him hello or give him a scratch behind the ears.

In line behind the hairstylist was my beautiful, friendly pharmacist who is always helpful and lets me speak Spanish with her even though her English is excellent and I sometimes fumble with unfamiliar medical terms.

So there I was, sharing a friendly connection to all three people around me. I am part of my neighborhood; I am recognized. This is my home away from home, and while I have made some special and invaluable American friends here, it feels really good to have established relationships with ticos in my community.

1 comment:

JujuBoo said...

That had to have been amazing feeling: To be accepted into a foriegn country where you feel you have become a part of the community.