Monday, July 19, 2010

Go Confidently in the Direction of your Dreams

Confidence is a funny thing. It has the ability to change a situation and to differ among cultures. It can improve your spanish or sales abilities and can also make you look like a total jackass. Anyway, I have recently noticed that confidence is really something that some professions must require.

One such profession would be a waitress. Now, I'm most definitely NOT claiming to have been a fabulous waitress, previously in my life, yet I can recognize the need to own what you are selling/serving. On my recent trip back to the D (metro Detroit area really), I went to check out 'South' a new, LA/poshy restaurant, bar in downtown Birmingham. I'll give them the fact that they just opened, but the waitress was so unconfident it was awkward. First with the Michelada... which was exciting to see on a menu in Birmingham. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, a Michelada is a kind of bloody mary beer drink from the latin lands. The waitress pronounced it Mi-kela... lines the rim with sugar (not salt) and then asked if it tasted good after she served it. She then proceeded to ask us how the rest of our food and beverages were because she 'hasn't had them and always wondered, I mean they look good but she just didn't know'. I mean come on, at one point she was interrupting our conversation, a long awaited international catchup session.

Another profession that should really add confidence to it's needed skills is a yoga instructor. I know that yoga is for everyone and that it is about much more than just the asnas, yet the person leading the group must go confidently and with direction through the class. A recent class, with a rather new teacher brought this to my attention when I found myself thinking I'd rather be doing yoga alone.

Of course it's always easy to criticize. I know that I frequently lack confidence, living in a world where I am a bit of a fish out of water. But I will continue making speculations from my view here on the beach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hiatus Over! ...and weird American hugging

I have neglected to blog for far too long. As life has been busy, with lots to blog about, it hasn't made it to the top of my to-do list, until now that is. Not until I awkwardly met some fellow Americans down here in Anitgua, did I feel the need to express myself here on 'It's a Beautiful Life'.

In Guatemala, and most of Latin American I assume, there are some things that are just different... personal space distances, lunch hour, driving norms, etc... The customs of meeting new people and introducing yourself are no exception. It's most common that when you meet someone you kind of half hug/embrace them with a slight cheek kiss or just cheek kiss motion. In Guatemala most times that is accompanied by a quick 'Que Tal?' (what's up), which is not intended really to be answered and signifies that you speak spanish, I've noticed.

I've gotten used to this introduction and don't generally think much of it, until I met the three Americans in the bike shop* the other day. When saying good bye and nice to meet you, I went for my usually half hug, cheek motion bit and each of them was more awkward than the next. The first one gave me a back pat from a distance, the second tried to read my body movement while leaning in and out and the third gave me a full hug around the waist... umm. I almost laughed out loud, but I didn't want to be rude. I'm not sure if I like that general American hand shake or the full latin intro, but each has it's time and place I guess.

In other news, since previous posting... the 'bike shop' DON QUIJOTE CRUISERS is really taking off. Chino and I opened the shop in January and after trial and errors and lots of learning along the way, we are fully open, operating and renting bicycles all over the place. Antigua is a funny place to do business, a very particular little town full of very particular people, brought here for one reason or the next and then stayed. With that mix, there is a lot of international influence, great food and lots of bars. The cruiser bikes fit right into the picture perfect scene and provide an alternative way to spend your sightseeing day in our colonial town.

Until next time... cruise on!