My column this week has taken a little diversion from the usual. Instead of nature in the sense of the physical, it is about nature of a different sort – human nature.

It is easy to misunderstand others. Easy to assume intentions and motivations. But after the week I just spent in Mexico, I am once again reminded of how no matter what your heritage or geographic location, we ought not do that.

In Mexico City, you see people from just about every part of the world. Getting on the hotel elevator, you hear French, German, Spanish, Japanese, English, and other languages about which you have no clue. It’s the largest city in the Western hemisphere, with a population of over 22 million. In area, Mexico City takes up 367,000 acres.

As is the case with most countries other than our own (and even sometimes that one), our impressions are often based on what we see on television or the internet. If we haven’t actually had the experience of being there, and this is our only basis for opinions about the country and its people, rarely are they accurate.

I’ve been to both Mexico City and the state of Michoacán in rural Central Mexico five times. Neither location is the same as the other in most respects. It’s like the difference between New York City and Paulding County. Still the same country, but everyday life is different depending on where you live.

In both locations, each time I have visited, I’m always struck by how the people in Mexico are ready and willing to lend a hand if they are able. In fact, sometimes they will go to extraordinary lengths to try to make others’ lives easier and better, in small ways that feel big. In places where they are the ones needing help, particularly financially, they don’t seem to expect you to give, but are extremely grateful when you do.

I also saw behavior from some Americans that probably wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow in the United States, particularly these days, but it was obvious that in general, our expectations are high. In certain aspects of life, high standards can serve us well, but when we aren’t flexible and forgiving of others, no one benefits – us, them, or those who are watching.

It’s that “us versus them” mentality that causes problems. When you break things down to basics, we are all just “us.” Whether you live here or there, there are difficulties in life as well as joys. Though what brings them can be different, we all laugh and cry our way through our days. The language of emotions is universal.

If we are fortunate enough to get to spend time with people from various locations of the world, we joyously discover that we’re far more alike than different and that one of us is of no more value than another. We are all priceless. We all exist because we are supposed to.

I also saw goodness in the group of people in our tour. We had various ages, some with physical limitations, and most had never met before we shared a week in a somewhat crowded bus with one another. This tour is not a physically easy one, since we are at high altitudes much of the time and there is a lot of walking involved, many times on rough terrain. Each day I witnessed acts of kindness and thoughtfulness as people helped each other when they saw the need. There was a kind of balance in things when the going got rough, and it weighed heavier on the side of good.

It seems kind of silly to put down these thoughts on paper, as these are principles we should know. But Mexico is a place where you’re reminded of them, and it’s a good thing to be reminded now and then. We can be grateful for our blessings, while at the same time be humbled by them.

(Kylee Baumle is a lifelong resident of Paulding County. Contact her on Facebook or by email at