Longest title ever, right?So yeah, I’ve basically made it a thing to look for someone to give me a Mayan abdominal massage any and every time I’ve been to a Mayan region (yucatan + guatemala). And I’ve succeeded in finding this massage: twice. You can read about my first experience with a mayan abdominal massage HERE.

Maybe it’s crazy to want someone to try to push all your organs into place. And maybe it’s crazy to be picked up by a stranger and go to their home for said organ-pushing treatment. Which one is crazier? I’m not sure. I guess the thing is we hear “stranger-danger” all the time. We have it as constant fear in our heads. And on top of that we put these negative thoughts that ‘anyone and everyone is out to get us’ into our children’s heads. And for what? I mean, sure there is bad in the world– a crap ton of it (I live a few miles away from trump), but I think it’s safe to say that most of us are not corrupt and evil, ya?

The reality is, I’m not to scared of any of it anymore. Like I said, I’m conquering my fears. And I’m stopping to ask myself if my fears are useful. Are fears useful? Sometimes. But worrying about every turn: it isn’t. I’m smart. And I think it’s even safe to say that I’m actively intuitive. I’m deliberately cautious, but without too much of a set back.

So yeah, I wanted this massage. And I met enough people and asked enough of the right questions to finally find an abdominal massage on this trip. The sweet woman who knew how to do it was a masseuse by trade. She said we could come to her house for the treatment. She was kind. And a mom, like both Celia and myself. We asked the best route to get to her house from our hotel and she offered to meet us. A few days later, on our day of our appointment Celia and I took a cab to an empty plaza where we waited for our new stranger-friend. It was oddly chilly this day. It felt like it would pour a cold rain any minute. We were picked up and taken to her home.

We each received our massage, she offered each of us tea. We paid her the requested amount and left a very generous tip for her kindness.

I wish I could have offered her more.

I can’t say the thought of danger never crossed my mind. Sure, it did. I think it’s only natural. Especially once you become a parent… but like I said, not everyone is out to get us. Realistically we could have been just as dangerous to her as she could have been to us. She didn’t know us either. With each treatment, the other was unattended in the home she opened up to us. But in my experience, I’ve found nothing but complete overwhelming generosity in so many other cultures— something a bit more of a challenge to find here in in the states. But I believe this can be more fear  than lack of kindness on our part.

Did I tell you about the time I left my bank card in an atm in a random market in guatemala? I didn’t even know I left it there. About ten minutes later an older man came up to me and asked, “Andrea?” and I took a step back– I was so lost and bewildered wondering, “but how does this man know my name?!” And as I responded, with a hesitant nod, he smiled and handed me my bank card and tells me he found it in the machine. Not one extra penny taken out. He went to the machine for himself, found my card inside, and found me shortly after. He could have used it. He could have left it there or thrown it out. Instead he came to find me and return it to me.

Kindness.

It’s everywhere.

After our massage the woman offered to drive us back to our hotel. We told her were were hoping to go downtown. And so she took us to a local bus stop and said it would just be a few stops away. Only 11 am and our first stranger-adventure was under our belt.

We jumped off the bus and jumped into a restaurant for some nourishing food. That was my biggest mistake after my first experience with the massage— I binged on tamales and tequila— and felt, well, absolutely terrible after. This time around I was determined to fully nourish and detox my body. Cold smoothies and hot soup it was. And it was surprisingly delicious. We paid our bill and decided to make our way to our next adventure.

Which started just a few feet away— when I looked down to find the most ridiculous dog ever. The tiniest little thing, with his stupid tongue just there, dangling out. I made such a fuss over this dog. I needed to be his friend– and lucky for me— he seemed to be amused, as well as his owner. His owner, another stranger was just a feet away from the restaurant we were in– in another restaurant with the very same name and decor. You know, one of those situations where the restaurant opens two of the same places, right next door. Why? I don’t know, but they do it. And he was there, ordering the same smoothie and soup we had just ordered. Fate, for sure.

We shared stories of adventures and writing. We took photos with the dog. And he invited us to come check out his place— because “it was filled with so much positive energy” — or something along those lines. There was nothing but genuine excitement from all of us in finding and meeting each other. Like I said, this trip was nothing but inspirational and wonderful. 


We toured his new home, an ex yoga retreat. And this was the last photo taken on my phone, before our new stranger friend accidentally dropped it, breaking the camera part, forever. This was followed with about thirty minutes of us face-timing ourselves to try to figure out what was wrong with it, thirty million apologies, and a bit of rain too. We ended the visit with an email exchange and a promise he would reimburse me if the cell phone company didn’t replace the phone. (they did). We said our goodbyes– and “maybe see you laters.” I hope to see him one day again— with a better cell phone case.

The rain came and went. And we explored the town (city?) some more.



And away from the main tourist strip, we really enjoyed our time. Happy details and kind, kind people everywhere.

We stopped for coconuts and coffee. This was maybe the only place we were treated with a hurried un-kindness. The French waitress had no time for us. Wherever her anger was coming from, she took it out on us.

But Celia and I got to sit and talk about this. How our day was truly unwinding. How the world is filled with so many types of people. And how we shouldn’t– and couldn’t let one miserable person spoil our time—-that our experience as a whole was amazing regardless— that people as a whole could be amazing—- that not everyone is bad, mean, whatever.

Yeah the rotten or miserable people are out there. But they are not the majority.



You know, I’m not saying we should all just start popping into strangers cars and homes— though if you think about it we totally are a generation who has not only started doing this but also embraced it (uber, lyft, airbnb, anyone? haha). But I guess the moral of my story is that the good people are out there.

Be smart. Be kind.

3 Comments

  1. I laughed so much when I read the title and then smiled so wide and felt so moved with the rest of the post! This is a really moving and good story, thank you for sharing this with us 🙂 After having lived in several places/cities and small towns, I came to the conclusion that places that respect human scale result relaxed (=normal, in my opinion) people 😀

  2. I love love loved this post, strangers are not always terrifying! I did couchsurfing in Greece and stayed with random people I'd never met before (my mother was NOT a fan)…but they turned out to be so incredibly wonderful and helped me experience the country like I never would have otherwise 🙂

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