When I was living in McComb, Mississippi, it was more and more common to see a group of Latinos at Wal-Mart…. I am not sure they were Mexican or not… but for this story we will pretend they were. They would move in a pack doing their shopping. Occasionally one would break from the heard. I would almost see fear in his eyes until he returned to the group. When together they would laugh and enjoy their time at Wal-Mart, just like us local Rednecks! Wal-Mart can sometimes be social and entertaining for anyone – a way to pass some time. For many they may not understand the simple joy of killing some time at Wal-Mart and maybe even seeing friends to catch up with. But for some, spending time in Wal-Mart is fun and entertaining. I see these Mexicans finding this simple way to enjoy some time. They keep to themselves, speaking Spanish, and usually they are having a great time.
I remember at time when I would walk through Wal-Mart looking for things I did not need. Now in Bogotá, I find that simple pleasure for myself again. Here instead of Wal-Mart, it is called Exito. Sometimes I am alone in Exito and have a fear in my eyes expressing please do not talk to me! But I spend time looking, reading Spanish packages translating to myself, and sometimes laughing at the similarities between cultures…. I found myself thinking – I am like one of those Mexicans in Wal-Mart back in McComb. There are people who say they should go back where they came from and I see that look sometimes myself. Sometimes I get a look from someone who says…. I remember exploring Exito and enjoying it. I see a look of I hope this guy is enjoying Bogotá.
But now, I hope that next time I see Mexicans in Wal-Mart I will give a look of welcome with a smile and maybe even say in Spanish – hello (hola) because I know how that kind of small gesture can improve my day. I am in Colombia looking for a better life and I hope anyone that seeks to improve their life receives support from the new location whether it is just a new city, new state or even a new country! I hope they can find a better life also! As Immagration Reform becomes a topic in the U.S., I hope people will think that immigration is a good thing. People make changes like moving to a new country to have netter lives. Like my wish with healthcare…. I hope people learn how blessed some are and we can SHARE! We can share healthcare and our country. Try to remember a simpler time in your life and try recreating it… enjoy it again. Everyone deserves to be happy – even Mexicans in an American Wal-Mart!
That’s the best yet! Even brought me to tears as I am in a new State trying to make it my home! I think we Americans take so much for granted! Good job friend! I will be more thankful and I will SHARE!!
My mother taught us to “walk in the other person’s shoes” and we would look at them and think about them differently, perhaps even understand why they were “different” from me. Thank you for reminding me to reach out to the stranger – a smile and welcoming “hello” is always good to receive. At one time or another, we have all been the “alien in a strange land.” A good blog, Thomas. Diane
Wow! Thoughtful, inspiring story. Now I will try and be a better person to everyone, especially the Mexicans in walmart.