Friday, 8 November 2013

Visiting y los latinos

A few weeks ago a guy I know - not very well - posted on Facebook that he welcomed visitors. He has cancer. He was first diagnosed back in 2008 and since has done extraordinary things between treatments and when he's been in better health. He's not doing so good at the moment and has been confined to bed for a few weeks.

Our paths have crossed over the years here and there - similar circles. He remembers travelling back with me and teammate from Swazi Xtreme a few years ago. I'm not so good post-race; I don't remember much...

Last week, as I was finishing with the English course and getting my freedom back, I dropped him a note to ask, "Can I come visit?". We set a date for this past Friday.

But before this, last Wednesday night, I went to a Spanish class. We read a piece about the cultural difference between 'los latinos y los gringos' - the Latin American people and Americans.

In short, los latinos will warmly greet people, even if they don't know them. They're very expressive and they'll give people a hug and kiss in greeting regardless of their relationship to the person. I found this during my time spent recently in Argentina. I felt like a long-lost friend or family member and I was so warmly welcomed. Also, los latinos will arrive at each others homes, unannounced, and their children play together without pre-set play dates.

Gringos, on the other hand, are more reserved with unfamiliar people and physical contact is limited. We (I definitely fall into this category too) book 'appointments' to see our friends, we rarely just drop in and we set play dates for children.

On the whole, when friends call and say they're in the area, I'm delighted to have them stop in for tea. Not for endless hours, but definitely for a catch up. It doesn't happen that often but I do enjoy a nice visit. On the other hand, I never drop in on people unannounced. I like the idea, but I've never gotten the hang of it.

I am getting better at inviting myself for a visit with friends - otherwise months go by without seeing them. Families, children, work, play... and next thing you know two years have passed.

I like visiting (and being visited).

And that's why when I saw Jaco's visitor request, I banked it and accepted as soon as I finished the course.

Here's something interesting...

On arrival I gave Jaco a doodle that I'd made especially for him - mountain bike wheel inspired as he is an avid mountain biker. His was the third doodle that I'd made.

Two things came out in the course of our conversations. He wasn't sure why I was visiting, especially as we don't know each other very well. I told him I'd seen his post on Facebook and thought I'd accept and come visit. He mentioned that he thinks some of his visitors come out of guilt or such emotion because he is so ill.

Well, I don't feel this because I don't really know him. He's a guy, who is unwell. We share common friends and interests. And he asked for visitors. I'm free range and I like visiting. That simple.

When I gave him the doodle he looked puzzled by it. I explained that it was just a drawing I'd made for him. He mentioned that visitors sometimes bring him stuff, like photographs and such. Again he picks up a guilt / pity / sympathy element from these. I explained that it is my new hobby and that this was the third one I'd made - the first two also given away.

Visits - and odd gifts - can be just what they are.

I'm aiming to visit Jaco again but he isn't doing very well this week. His family are now updating his Facebook page.

I think this is one of the things that appeals to me about heading back to Argentina for a few months. I like the culture and I could do with learning about visiting and hanging out from them.

On this theme, a few weeks ago I set a play date with one of my oldest friends. We've been friends for about 32 years now but we don't always see each other that often (out of sight but never out of mind - xxx) We've got a sleep over tonight - I'll spend the evening with her (and her husband if he's around) and tomorrow morning we're going running at Groenkloof (she lives quite close to Groenkloof). Her regular running buddy will join us too. How nice is this!

Si, es maravilloso para visitar amigos.

1 comment:

adventurelisa said...

Jaco's wife posted on Facebook today that he passed away in the very early hours of this day. His family were with him when he crossed into the Land of Other Adventures. A life well lived.