One thing that kept recurring for us was the need to learn and ask questions. We found almost every person we met was a teacher in some way. We have constantly been in a state of receiving from strangers (and friends) since we left. Most people were happy to teach us Spanish words and wait patiently for us to describe something we didn't have sufficient vocabulary for. People spoke slowly and filled in words or corrections as we were speaking. We've improved at Spanish and have a long way to go.
Often before I could knock at a house I would hear "Pasale" through the screen door and see someone inside gesturing to come in.
One beautiful aspect of the culture was the welcome we felt to come in for a visit. It was humbling to experience the generosity of people who had enough to live comfortable but who had fewer things in their homes than we have packed in to our boat. We were welcome to whatever food they were eating and always took time to sit and visit and tell us about their town or their families(Olivia sent home a whole plate of fresh clam cakes-like crab cakes- for me to have since Brian was visiting alone--Yummmy) or their hobbies (Rigo, the abalone diver, raises fighting cocks! I learned a lot about that sport.) We felt challenged by their kindness and willingness to give a ride or advice or help with Nomad. It was a wonderful gift to not be treated as outsiders or as rich Americans to be taken advantage of. We have gained true friends in Baja because they accept us as we are. This is a valuable lesson we want to emulate with everyone we meet in the rest of our travels.
This example of community hit home especially because we've both finished reading a book called "Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger." I highly recommend it! It talks about many things but one of the points is that if churches or groups truly were functioning communities they would use fewer resources, meet more needs within the community, and be able to share love more genuinely outside of their community. A few different real life examples were described of people living simply, looking out for each other, and loving God. We found that that the small Mexican villages we visited looked more like true communities than most places we know of in the U.S. Whether this has to do with fewer material possessions or less media impact, or a different culture, we don't know, but we plan to begin incorporating these principles into our lifestyle and our future.
So, continue to be students of people we meet, Nomad, and each other. It's always new whether we're figuring out our SSB radio, finding a store that sells a part we need, or trying to figure out our future as a couple.