…and God laughs, or so they say. Well, I think that’s true.
I had some plans for my time in Colombia. Really, they were more like goals, and they weren’t particularly well-defined. While in Colombia, I wanted to improve two things:
1. My Spanish
2. My dance skills
I thought this made a lot of sense. And yes, in my past four months in this country, my Spanish has vastly improved (I no longer consider myself at the level of a particularly slow kindergartener), and not to brag, but I can break it down on the dance floor. So far, so good.
But as I like to think of it, God watched me stumble through my little adventure in Colombia and thought, “You know what, gringuita? There’s something else that you can work on. And I’m going to give you a lot of opportunities to do it.”
Patience. Not the easiest of the virtues. But, oh man, have I gotten a lot of chances to work on that during my time in Colombia.
There are so many different examples, I hardly know where to start. There are little things, like the bus I take on my daily commute to work, the Mio. The Mio is supposed to run on a schedule, más o menos, but this is Colombia. Every once in a while, after a crowd of us has been waiting for almost an hour, two buses of the same route will show up at the same time, literally bumper to bumper, because that makes sense. Patience.
Then there is work itself. Sometimes class gets canceled, and no one bothers to tell me until I show up at the school at the crack of dawn. Sometimes half the students will leave in the middle of class for no reason that I can figure out. Sometimes I arrive at 7 AM to find that the door to my classroom, which is located on the first floor of a very noisy factory-type environment, is gone. Just gone. Patience.
And of course there is travel within Colombia, which is certainly always an adventure. Recently I took a trip to a city called Ibague to visit some awesome gringos. The bus journey was advertised as 6 hours, but of course it took 8. And naturally, on the way there, I had the incredible good fortune to be seated across from the crazy old man who shrieked into his cell phone for 3 hours, and then talked to himself for the rest of the time. To my delight, at one point he tried to engage me in conversation, which I evaded, and then I had the treat of listening to him refer to me as “this girl, this deaf girl” for the rest of the trip. Patience.
So, whether I want it to or not, Colombia is teaching me slowly but surely. In situations that would normally make me feel like my head is going to explode, I must simply remember the words of my students: “Ayyy, teacher, relax!”