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We are creatures of habit, oftentimes controlled by them. Like it or not, that coffee you have every morning is the thing that can determine your day’s outcome. Your lunch break at 12:30pm is your escape from the office, or your favorite ride food snack can make or break your ride. Whether or not we care to admit, most of our daily routine is a result of habit. The question is at what point do you become aware and how are you to determine whether or not that habit is injurious or beneficial. And so..

This is Sra. Rosa. She cannily parks her food cart on the sidewalk outside of the University where the hustle and bustle of students pass each hour. Three years ago, I was just a gringa within that hustle and bustle. Each time I passed her cart I would stop to buy un agua, a dulce de mani candy of peanuts or a piece of La Princessa chocolate. We would exchange a few words and I would continue to class. When I became sick with stomach bugs (as is usual for any extranjero), Señora Rosa was my savior. She provided me with just about the only things I could digest, galletas de soda soda crackers and water. I remember her smile, and the way she would put me at ease in some of my worst moments.

And so my habit built a relationship with this woman. I had the habit of satisfying my sweet tooth, she in turn predicted my arrival each day before and after class.

After three years, I found myself walking down the same sidewalk with Mariale to the office to sign some paperwork. There sat la Señora Rosa, in the same spot. I paused, put my hand on her shoulder and asked, ‘Senora, me recuerdas? Ma’am, do you remember me?’. She looked at me a minute and then smiled, that same smile that I remember so well. She responded ‘Si claro mi hijita! Yes of course my little girl!’ I explained that I was busy and had to run to the office right quick but that I would be back.

When I returned to her stand, she smiled and reached out her hand to give me a chocolate bar, unas de Las Princessas.

I do not know that I will ever know this lady more than what little small talk we have exchanged, but I know that her smiling face has given me hope. As much as I hate the idea of a locationship, there is something to be said for the little smiles we receive in passing each day. In the meantime, I will work to change my habit from chocolate to something more substantial ;).

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