When I’m not writing this blog, I teach English here in Granada. I’m lucky enough to have a variety of students of all ages and backgrounds from law students to IT consultants to soldiers and strangely, it is one of the latter that I want to mention in the post.
The stereotypes of soldiers is perhaps of very serious and intense men who put their lives on the line for society and who are there to ‘do their duty’ and yet, to utterly contradict that, one of the soldiers I have met on my travels here is perhaps one of the happiest people I have ever met. Every time I see him he is smiling. Genuinely happy. I almost feel envious of his joy which seems so natural and sincere. I have no idea how he manages to be so happy and perhaps inevitably when I have asked him he doesn’t either. He just is.
This brings to mind one of my my most favourite books of all time, the ‘Tao Of Pooh’ by Benjamin Hoff. I first read it when I was in my very impressionable early 20s and I have been meeting characters from that book ever since and without doubt, José is the primary character, Winnie The Pooh. Completely happy in his ever-so-roundabout-non-deliberate way and utterly oblivious to the riches that he has that the world is so desperately looking for. It’s been lovely getting to know him. It’s strangely infectious being around him in the same way that you laugh when somebody else laughs, it’s impossible not to smile and be happy when José is happy.