Home > personal, Uncategorized > The Crying Guy in Seat 7

The Crying Guy in Seat 7

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It was the strangest time. It was nothing special or out of the ordinary. And that’s just it. That’s when a wave of emotion hit me, that took my breath away. It caused tears to well up in my eyes and break free (even now as I write). The cliched lump in the throat was all too real for me.

It was only a lady on her cell phone. I didn’t even see her. Don’t know what she looks like. I just overheard a plain conversation on a bus ride through the Chilean countryside. What she said didn’t matter. In fact, it was simply a short and boring exchange with a family member, I suppose. It was the way she talked. It was how she sounded.


It wasn’t like the Spanish I’ve heard the last decade and a half. It was Chilean Spanish, complete with all of its nuances. It was Chilean personality coming out on full display. It wasn’t the actual trigger which caused this temporary loss of composure in me. The trigger was the last four days leading up to this moment of eavesdropping. It was all of the familiar old sights and sounds and smells and places and silly things like name brands and more important parts of culture like food and drink. It was old friends and new friends alike.

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It was realizing that my childhood friend’s teenage kid is the same age I was when I left this place, and that it’s been just as many years since I last visited. It was hearing this type of Spanish now for the better part of a week.

So it was on a fairly quiet bus ride back from the picturesque coastal city of Pichilemu back to Santiago where my previously delinquent emotions started to come out. I’m glad I asked for napkins at the sandwich shop before getting on the bus so I could wipe the tears that ran down my cheeks and blow my nose and try to breathe regularly again. I only hope that I still blend in enough not to look like a complete fool. But being surrounded by such beauty, taking in the gorgeous landscapes of the country I grew up in, which I used to call home, I don’t really mind if I appear somewhat foolish given the circumstances.

“What’s wrong with that crying guy in seat 7?” Absolutely nothing.

  1. Michelle S
    April 30, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It’s nice when our hearts get to go to a place they know as home so well.

  2. Alisa
    June 22, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I can so identify with this! There are certain things that hit me every time we are in Mexico, and all of a sudden it is like a huge wave of emotion flows over me – happiness for the time I lived there, sadness for no longer being there, nostalgia, wondering if we should have stayed there and raised our kids there, gratitude that my parents raised us there – so many emotions. I oftentimes click and relate much better with people there, and sometimes I feel like it IS still home…so many deeply ingrained emotions. Thank you for sharing.

    • June 22, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Alisa. It’s a strange phenomenon being an MK, for sure, but one that I’m glad to have had.

  3. Brita
    June 23, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Beautifully written Greg. Chile will always be a part of who you are and God just knew you needed those extra napkins. Isn’t it beautiful that we can feel such deep emotions about places and people we were once connected to?

  1. May 2, 2015 at 12:02 am

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