Becoming the subject of gossip rather than simply a crazy norteamericana

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa

53ts-Christine+J+headlinesThere are so many tourists in San Miguel that it is quite easy for a newcomer to slip in amongst them, no matter how much one might physically stand out. You’re too new so the expats don’t yet recognize a new member of the clan and to the Sanmigueleses you might just be one of those crazy people with much – or little – money from someplace else. One might go quite some time – even in a town as small as this – without being noticed.

At some point – after the fifth liter of milk that you’ve purchased? – the neighborhood shopkeepers realize that you live nearby. You have registered with the folks who hang on the doorsteps and street corners of your favorite route to town. The women who sweep their doorsteps each morning, whom you’ve greeted with buenos días or buenas tardes or buenas noches now recognize you. You’ve met enough expats that circles begin to close, and a conversation that might have included “have you met ____?”, that might have turned to “no, who’s that?” now includes “Yes, we had lunch together last weekend.”

And you are no longer just another loca norteamericana, but have become “la loca norteamericana who lives on Los Chupiros” or “la extraña americana” who walks by,

Someone told me that eccentrics are valued and encouraged in San Miguel. While I’ve yet to find that encouragement – I really don’t know what form that might take – I certainly have not been discouraged by living here.

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