These days I find myself among old things and missing teeth. The old things include old people and it is their teeth that are missing. Comical situation? Yes completely, please feel free to laugh. You see, my house is old, I live with my old grandparents, the neighborhood is old, there are many old people, even the tropical forest that surrounds me is very old. And the missing teeth, well you know where those are. Not mine, fortunately I still have all of my chompers.
But am I complaining about the lack of youth and teeth of my new home? No, not at all, in fact it has a specific kind of charm that many other new and fully toothed places don’t have. Among the wrinkles and the cracking buildings lies a certain humbleness, a welcoming kindness that people here have.
Here, everybody knows each other and looks out for one another, the houses are always open, and some cars don’t even gave doors. I am not saying that there is no crime, there is lots of it coming from the generation with less wrinkles and a bit more teeth of course, but there is a sense of familiarity that you don’t find everywhere, at least I didn’t find it when I lived in Orlando.
Just driving down the old road heading towards the village plaza you can receive greetings from over 15 tooth lacking smiles from eyes adorned with wrinkles on the side of the road. The average American would say: “Who is this? I don’t know that old man”, and guess what, that person probably doesn’t know you either but he or she probably knows the person that you are traveling with and that makes you family.
It is strange for some who are not accustomed to this behavior, it was very weird for me at first when, while driving with my aunt, a random old man on the side of the road or on the balcony of his house would shout a hello. The first time I asked her who he was and how did she know him, she just informed me that this was the way everybody was here. I learned quickly that it was.
So among the old things, the old people and the missing teeth I feel at home, welcomed. I live among the people who know everyone without really knowing everyone. I am glad to be here, because on this old balcony, on this old chair, I can write new pieces that express what this old mountain makes me feel. And this will soon be an old fact I will never be able to deny.