We’re back on our southbound trajectory starting with a quick overnighter in Loreto. We’re happy to snag one of the last free spots at the campground in the center of town that we’ve stayed at previously.
Every time we come here my communication skills are put to the test as the receptionist doesn’t speak any English. I’ve gotten decent at my restaurant Spanish but not so much at my campground Spanish. My translation app is a priceless tool in this scenario and has worked well interacting with this particular woman in the past. But today the app isn’t responding very fast and I’m fumbling. I can tell she’s mustering all the kindness and patience she has but would rather be doing anything else. I push through the awkwardness and eventually secure our spot.
As I’m about to walk out of the office I turn around and go back. I’m so appreciative of this woman for putting up with me and want her to know that. I speak in to my translation app “Thank you for being so kind to me, I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish”. When the translation appears I show her my phone and her slight look of annoyance with me vanishes. Her face lights up with the biggest smile, she holds her hand to her heart, and bows her head. I’m reminded in that moment how simple and easy it is to be gracious and kind and how much it means to people on the receiving end.
My biggest regret when we were here last year was not knowing the language at all. And getting so flustered by it that I’d lost my capacity to even be kind. I was dumbfounded half the time and embarrassed. This year, while I’ve only made very small strides in what I’ve learned, I’m no longer paralyzed by what I don’t know. I can fumble my way through. And when I fall short I can lean on the tools I have and the ability to, at the very least, say thanks for putting up with me. This is what I love about traveling to places outside your comfort zone. It breeds patience, humility and compassion. Three things you can never have too much of.