A "what are you up to" smile #thisiscrazylove2016

I mentioned a few days ago being in the middle of a rain storm south of the border, down Mexico way.

Another person sharing that experience with me was one of my favorite people on the planet. Her name is Noula. I used to jokingly tell her she was my favorite Noula in the world but I have decided to upgrade her status to include all people. (Not just those with the name Noula)

 A beautiful young woman but take it from her younger siblings... She can do some damage.  

A beautiful young woman but take it from her younger siblings... She can do some damage.  

I have known Noula and the rest of her family since 2006-ish.

Each year (save one) from 2007 to 2014 I traveled with a team down to a little town in a a southern state in Mexico.

My first impression of Noula was that of a quiet, shy young woman with her head pressed into a book. Yet, at the same time I got the impression in those early days she was multitasking as she was also checking in with all the conversations around her.

That may or may not be true. Noula, unlike what her face was pressed into can be a closed book.

 I know. I know. Take off the shades Stokes! But when one is getting their picture taken with such a cool gal, one does all possible to fit in on the cool factor  

I know. I know. Take off the shades Stokes! But when one is getting their picture taken with such a cool gal, one does all possible to fit in on the cool factor  

This is one of the things I respect most about this woman. Geez, now she's a woman. A college woman.

One has to earn their way into Noula's world. She's a private person. I can see that once invited in there is a deep trust but getting there... Well, not so fast.

She's a trustworthy person. I know if I tell her something in confidence she will keep it.

She's an artist. I have heard her sing, seem her act, listened as she played guitar and I am always moved.

I think what I love most about Noula though is her smile.

Her smile says so very much.

There is a warmth, a shyness AND a layer of mischievousness all wrapped in one smile.

I love it. I remember all too often on a bumpy bus ride along rural roads in Oaxaca looking over at her as she looked up at me with a smile and I would be unable to decipher what the smile meant. Was it a friendly smile or had she just cut a curl off of her older sister's hair?

I love all of Noula's family. I love them more than they will ever know but when it comes to Noula... She's one of my favorites. At least in the top 8. 😜