“Kindness is more than deeds. It is an attitude, an expression, a look, a touch. It is anything that lifts another person”

As I was filling up my water bottle the other day during my break from class, a girl ran up to me and told me that she wanted to give me a gift. She was a bit younger than me, a Venezuelan student studying english at my school, and she reminded me that the week before, I’d helped her answer a question on her homework.

She smiled up at me and handed me a small truffle – a macadamia nut covered in chocolate.

When I say that I want to leave this country with me some of the qualities of the people here, this is exactly what I mean: the selflessness and the willingness and enthusiasm to go the extra mile to make someone’s day, to leave a good impression or to make a friend. It’s amazing…and it’s just a part of life here.

I have been challenging myself to adopt and internalize these qualities from my first week here in Venezuela, and I can honestly say that I notice myself reaching out more to people who I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to talk to before. Their responses always makes me smile.

The other day I was leaving the little in-home laundry mat in our neighborhood. On my way out the door, the owner of the laundry mat (a thin woman with pigtails and braces in her early 30s) waved at me saying “¡Chao mi cielo!” which means “goodbye my heaven” – a common term of affection used here. Then, as I was halfway down the block, her two adorable children yelled at me from the balcony, “¡Chao linda!”, meaning “goodbye pretty girl!” These “palabras de cariño” or terms of affection are the norm, even among perfect strangers. Oh, I almost forgot to  mention the kiss on the cheek I received when I walked in the door to drop off my laundry 🙂


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