I woke up this morning and looked out my window and saw white and grey snowbanks. Despite the fact that I knew I was back in Michigan the contrast in the weather was still jarring. It seemed unreal that only 24 hours prior I had been in a tropical paradise and now I was back in frozen tundra of Michigan.
As I got up and got ready for my day I realized that I didn’t have any food for breakfast in my apartment, so I made a plan to get some breakfast and then head to the grocery store. As I made my way towards the restaurant the person ahead of me simultaneously slammed on their brakes and their horn as the person ahead of them made an unexpected turn. Drivers frequently used their car horns in Grenada, but I could tell this was in a completely different context.
I managed to arrive at the restaurant without any further incidents. As I had become accustomed to in Grenada I wished the woman at the counter a good morning and asked her how her day was going. Unlike almost everyone I met in Grenada this woman gave me a perplexed look and only gave me a one word answer. To avoid making the conservation anymore awkward I simply ordered my food and then moved on.
Later at the grocery store I began to notice that people often avoid making eye contact and smiling when they pass each other in the store. Even the lady working the checkout line was only as polite as required by store policy.
While talking to my parents and friends about our trip to Grenada, I realized that I often described the island as a “very warm and friendly place”. After thinking back on my description of the island and the people who live there, I realized that when I referred to the island as “warm” I was not just talking about the climate, but rather the people who live there. Thinking back to many of the conversations I had with the locals, I realize the vast majority of the conversations occurred not because someone was trying to sell me something, but rather because almost everyone I met were just plain friendly. In the US we are always busy moving on to our next task, never stopping to exchange a few words with those around us. I believe that everyone could benefit by slowing down and taking a few minutes to have a personal conversation with someone that doesn’t involve work or school.
I wish I could bottle up the sunshine in Grenada and bring it back to Michigan, but I can’t. However, I can bring back some of that personal warmth I experienced and use it to help warm these cold Michigan days until summer finally arrives.