About a week ago, I woke up on a Wednesday morning and decided to check my email, which I had not checked in a few days because every time I do I find myself weeding through innumerous amounts of junk mail, and then forgetting what I was doing in the first place. Nevertheless, that morning I opened my mail ready to delete all 400 messages I had let accumulate over the last week or so, when I saw at the top of my inbox three that peaked my interest. One had been sent on Monday, one on Tuesday and another one on that same Wednesday. They were from CBS journalist Peter Greenberg’s team.
The subject box read: Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show Interview. Of course, I just sat in my chair staring at the email feeling a bit dumbfounded. As I read more carefully, the email was asking me to go to Playa Del Carmen that same evening where Peter Greenberg of CBS wanted to interview me for his radio show. They had found me through my articles in The Yucatan Times and wanted me to confirm my availability for the interview. As I sat there staring at the computer screen only half-way through my first cup of coffee, it dawned on me that I needed to stop everything, get dressed and go to the bus station to buy my ticket to Playa Del Carmen. And that is exactly what I did.
Peter Greenberg is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist and Travel Editor for CBS news. He is America’s travel guru and has made a career interviewing heads of states and people living outside of the US as well as covering international breaking news. In May, he was in Quintana Roo to host his radio show Peter Greenberg Worldwide which airs on more than 350 radio stations in the US. For this show, he talks to Americans living abroad and asks about their experiences and tries to get an inside view of an expat’s life.
I arrived in Playa Del Carmen around 6pm, hopped in a cab and went straight to Paradisus Playa Del Carmen La Perla hotel and resort. I went to the reception desk, and they took me straight to a suite where Greenberg had set up his recording studio. I walked up to the room and there were two guards at the door. They asked me my name and told me to wait in the hall. I do have to admit, I started to wonder and I asked myself: Is this for real? Maybe I was lured into some shady underground human trafficking situation and I would disappear from my family and friends forever.
However, curiosity and excitement got the better of me; I took pictures of my surroundings, sent them to my sister and best friend. I figured investigators would know where to start in case I vanished. I was invited into the suite where to my relief, I saw Peter with his team set up and interviewing a fellow expat. There were a couple people in the waiting area and I saw a full spread of tantalizing appetizers, sweets and fruits. I was asked if I wanted anything to drink and to sit down and wait. I would be the next one to be interviewed.
When Peter called me to his table he explained to me the process. He asked about who I am and how long I have been living in the area. I was one out of 8 people interviewed. He started the recording by doing a brief introduction and then continued to ask about my life in Yucatan. We talked about my experiences living as an American woman, mother, writer, budding journalist and teacher. He inquired about my new project MID CityBeat a Facebook, Instagram, and soon-to-be website. I told him that it is dedicated to what is happening in the city as well as exposing the great entrepreneurial and artistic talents in Mexico and especially in Merida, Yucatan. He asked me where I take my loved ones when they come to visit and what surprises me most about living here.
The conversation was very natural, and I felt as if with the first question he gently lifted me off the ground, took me on a ferris wheel ride looking at my life in Yucatan and then calmly set me back down on land. It felt incredible. It was an honor to be called in to talk with such a veteran journalist and I felt truly humbled in his presence. As I left the hotel heading straight back to the bus station at 8pm that same Wednesday night, I thought to myself, “Every once in a while, life really does surprise you. When unexpected doors open for you, all you have to do is be able to see the opportunity and not be too frightened to walk through.”
by Stephanie Carmon
Stephanie Carmon, “language lover” is an English and Spanish language professional with over 18 years of experience teaching and providing clients with effective communication skills. She works both online and in person with companies and individual learners and from Mexico, Russia, U.S. and Canada as a freelance language consultant, translator, interpreter and teacher. She currently lives in Mérida, Yucatan.
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