A Kinder Kind of People


Happy Hump Day, y’all!

Just in case you didn’t know it, I am still at it! Still writing my pieces and still in Europe … Spain to be exact, on an extended vacation/birthday celebration/early retirement “party”!  You say that you’ve never heard of such a thing?!?  Neither have I … it just happened!  It all started when I wanted to leave the country not only because Scrump got elected, but because I wanted to celebrate my birthday in Spain.  Yet, I’ll admit that there is a long time female friend in Germany that I was hoping to see who in fact was supposed to meet me in Barcelona when I arrived.  Her plans changed but mine did not!  I hadn’t been to Spain in over 20 years when I visited Madrid.  I wanted to come back and see the other part of Spain that I have heard so much about, Catalunya to be exact!  I am use to adjusting my plans, making new ones, and starting over if necessary.

After meeting an incredible hostess, “Vicky”, I was able to stay in Sabadell, Barcelona for two weeks.  I then decided to move on as most of the readers know to other places.  I was enraptured … can I say that … by what I found.  Not only here in Sabadell were the people “curious” about who I was, most of them were courteous as well!  When I got to Valencia where I stayed for another two weeks, I met more incredible people … still here in Spain.  Soon, I decided to go to Germany but changed my plans back and forth a few times from going to Kiel where my friend lives or going to Hamburg, which is another historical city that I wanted to see.  Throughout my journey, I have had people offer to help me with my over-sized “duffel bag” on wheels either up or down the stair ways to the Metro and trains, including in Prague a young lady who gave me directions by train to the hostel where I was staying in Hamburg.  Once, in Paris, I was on my way down the stairs to the train and a gorgeous young lady offered to help me carry my bag down the stairs to the train platform.  We got in the same car and she even gave me her seat, which she had procured since she had gotten on the train first, after I pulled my bags, which included my laptop and a suit bag as well as a hand bag, onto the car!!  In Valencia, the staff at a hostel/dormitory where I had my own room, Colegio Galileo Galilei, was so kind that I immediately “fell in love” with them!  The food there was great … croissants, fresh orange juice and splendid coffee (cappuccino) every morning in moderate proportions and a great price.  I hit the beach in Valencia everyday I could, and encountered mostly charming people, sunbathing … the women topless … the ambiance was as warm as the sunlit beach there in Malvarrosa, a sprawling sun-drenched beach full of happy people of all ages and sizes jumping in and out of the water.  Shucks, I even encountered a yoga class on the sand at the same beach as well as a Tai chi class also there on the same beach, both for free!  I can truly say that I want to go back again, just for those reasons.  I saw some of the most impeccable museum sights there as well as in Barcelona and was able to enjoy multiple architectural creations in the form of La Catedral de Valencia as well as a free museum, Museu de Belles Artes de Valencia, there on a Sunday with incredible works of religious and Gothic art!  I wanted to revisit Spain again … on my way back from Hamburg, Amsterdam and Paris!  So here I am … back in Sabadell!

The kindness shown me by so many people along my journey has caused me to re-evaluate my retirement locations.  From here, I was able to see that there are still very kind people in the world.  The “America” that I have lived in most of my life is one that suffers from delusions of superiority to other countries and cultures.  While New York City and the Pentagon were also hit by terrorist attacks, “some of us” choose to point fingers at Paris, London .. shucks even Barcelona for their liberal policies towards immigrants.  We had multiple terrorists in our country, known by our “intelligence agencies” who were still able to pull of the biggest terrorist attack in history!  Here in Europe, the people are still kind to Muslims and Jews … gays and lesbians … and in general display a kind of kindness nearly long forgotten in many places in “America”.  Our competitive edge and desire to accumulate more wealth and power than ever has decreased our “humanness”, if you will.  At my age, I prefer kindness over intelligence … I am not impressed by how “haughty” a person might be able to behave, but more so by the kindness they display.

Have a great Hump Day … and think on these things.  I have a particular friend in social media, Lois Iannone, mother of one of my favorite yoga teachers – Christen Scott in the Jupiter area of Florida, who often posts suggestions of kindness for us to embrace.  I thank her … and I thank you all for reading.


John I. Cook, Director

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