A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

(Re)Learning to be nice

One of the great things about living in Yunquera is that there is a real sense of community here. People take care of each other, especially important in these dire economic climes. The same is true of any small village, I’m sure, but most of our small village experience is taken from our experiences in Yunquera.

In big cities, you soon learn not to look anyone directly in the eye as you pass by them on the sidewalk (aka ‘pavement’ to my British readers). You look down at the ground. You look at a point slightly over their shoulder. But you never, never look them right in the eye – too confrontational. Or so I’ve been told.

When I was growing up in Sioux Falls, one always said “hi” to people as you passed by – it was considered good manners, whether you knew them or not. So I thought that was the way everyone behaved, but alas, no. When I moved to England, my (now) husband warned me

for god’s sake, stop smiling at people and saying hello – they’ll think you’re crazy!!

And so started my ‘unfriendliness’ to strangers. Until we moved here, that is!

Here, you say hello to everyone, whether you know them or not. If you know them, a bit more is required. You stop to talk about the weather, their family, the crops, whatever. It can take half an hour to just walk to the post office! If we’ve not been in the village for awhile, our absence is always noticed, and commented upon. I like that, it makes me feel missed!

We’re often asked by the locals what is wrong with the other ex-pats. “Why don’t they say ‘hola'”? we are asked. “They always look at the ground as they walk around town. Don’t they like us?”

Well, I don’t know if the ex-pats like the Yunqueranos or not, but what I do know is that (in my opinion) they should re-learn how to be a friendly human being. The rewards are well worth it!


Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

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