“One thing I love about this country is that every day is different. When you wake up in the morning, you never know what can happen this day,” said the director at my middle daughter’s school. “I would hate for all the days to be just like the one before. How boring!”
I have to admit that I agree. That’s one of the reasons I wanted desperately to live abroad, and in a developing country, with my family. Life in the US was great in so many ways and yet I felt like, barring an accident or an illness, I could pretty much see the next twenty years of my life. How predictable and boring!
While I often get extremely frustrated when things “don’t work like that should” here (according to my American mentality), I also appreciated that not only does this keep things interesting but also forces us to be flexible and resourceful. Colombians don’t get too bent out of shape when things don’t work out, they just find a way to solve a problem and when that doesn’t work, they find another way, and when that doesn’t work…. well, you get the idea. Tenacity, creativity, resourcefulness – these are the names of the game here and Colombians are masters.
I, on the other hand, am a slow learner but I am getting there. I noticed the change in my attitude recently while buying a car from another American. She works for the US State Department and is therefore basically protected from the realities of Colombian life by the US Embassy. The Embassy handles just about everything for its American employees and since their Spanish is often limited, they socialize with other English speaking foreigners and their interactions with Colombian life is somewhat limited.
Buying a car with diplomatic license plates and changing them over to regular license plates requires a somewhat lengthy and complicated process of dealing with various Colombian ministries and customs agencies. When we learned what the process would entail, the American woman asked me if I was sure that I wanted to go through the hassle.
“No problem,” I said and genuinely meant it. “There is always a way to solve everything. We will work this out.”
Wow! Did I really say that? Are my fellow Colombians rubbing off on me?