The sights and sounds of a city can be enriching and though foreign languages can be difficult and intimidating, move yourself out of your comfort zone and interact with its people. While wandering down an off-the-the-track side street in the heat of the day, I spied a tiny shop filled with textiles hanging all over the walls. Upon entering, there was this kind gentleman eager to show me his wares. Unable to speak Portuguese, I did my best to converse in Spanish, and he continued to smile and, bless him, explained that he purchased this small shop some time ago from a family that used to sell buttons. I was confused because all I saw were textile hanging all over the walls. Shuffling from around the counter, he excitedly started pointing and moving some of the cloth, exposing the glass cabinets that were hidden behind. In the cabinets were boxes upon boxes of old buttons scribbled with names that the previous owners used to sell. Since nobody was buying buttons anymore, they were forced to sell the shop with contents included, so he purchased the small store and started selling textiles. Even though we couldn’t speak to each other, his kindness and willingness to share his story and piece of history was one of my most memorable interactions there. Smile and nod and be open, you’ll meet some beautiful characters.
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