We just dined with Jose "Pepe" Casis, our colleague from Centro Mario Molina, and Graciela Reyes Retana, his wife whom I happen to have met two years ago when I accompanied my dad to Mexico on a World Bank trip.
The couple was recently married, and both of these brilliant people are moving to Ithaca, NY shortly to commence their PhD program in Natural Resources at Cornell University, courtesy the Fulbright scholarships they both won in the same field at the same time.
As if this isn't incredible enough, these two are the most enjoyable people to be around imaginable. After a gloomy week of sickness and lack of productivity, I was falling out of my chair tonight because I literally could not stop laughing at Graciela's stories and Pepe's imitations. We all knew a lot about one another soon into the meal, and had developed inside jokes aplenty by the end of the night.
We feel like we've known them forever and I'm only sad that we spent this amazing time with them so late in our trip -- and envious that the three Cornell students now have an exclusive secret handshake and plans to meet up without me in Ithaca! As though I needed another, this will be a great reason to visit Laura at school next fall.
Thank you, Graciela and Pepe, for a beautiful evening. You have us grinning still.