This year is the year: What were the odds ... in honor of Mike, my main character in WANTED and a high school bookie.
So to start off 2012: What were the odds that I'd still be in Colombia after 15 years!!

Okay, technically we traveled a lot and lived all over the world, but truth be told, I arrived to Colombia 15 years ago this month. What were the odds I'd STILL be here? (My work contract was only for two years. Boy have I milked that sucker!)
So, it's officially my Quinceañera ... Where's the party? Where are the rose petals, fancy dresses, hoopla??  I WANT A CAKE!!!
Honestly, though, upon reflection (though nobody's really celebrating my big 15), there are two things that have cracked my world open and really, REALLY, formed my life.

1. Moving to Colombia when I was 23
2. Becoming a mother

I know. What about love and marriage and college and travel and being an aunt and GETTING TO BE AN AUTHOR (which, I must say is like icing and strawberries and cherries on the cake) and all that stuff? Absolutely those are milestones, but the two things that have most profoundly impacted my life (thus far) are stated above. So today, I'm going to take a little moment to tip my hat to Colombia, the gifts its given me, and the things I've learned since I immigrated here! (Yep, I'm one of those ... AN IMMIGRANT!)

Lessons from Colombia (a hodgepodge of tidbits ...)
1. Family doesn't necessarily mean you share the same DNA strand. Family comes from the heart.
2. The friend of the postman of the cousin of the sister of your boyfriend will always be welcome at a party!
3. Now doesn't mean now. Tomorrow doesn't mean tomorrow. There's really no rhyme or reason so just go with it and stop trying to figure out Colombian time.
4. Traffic lights are merely suggestions ... as with most traffic signs. 
5. Work hard to live. Living doesn't mean things and possessions but friends, music, family, smiles, unforgettable moments.
6. It's not really wise to smile and wave at those guys who shout out, "Hey Monita!" Unless you want stalkers.
7. Every taxi driver in Colombia has an uncle in New Jersey.
8. Music is part of everything.
9. I will NEVER walk like a Colombian woman. *sigh*
10. There's no such thing as too-tight-jeans in Colombia.
11. There's always time for a friend.
12. "Impossible" doesn't exist here.
13. Everybody talks at the same time -- about different things -- and as confusing as this may seem, it's like watching chaos take form and it all makes sense ... sometimes.
14. There's never too small a reason to have a party. (Once some friends of ours had a big party to celebrate a little gazebo they built at their farm.) ;-)
15. Happiness is a choice ... Colombians choose happiness every day.
16. I've lived, and continue to live, a life a privilege. From this privilege comes a social responsibility to make my community better by sharing and giving the best of me.
17. Dancing is imperative ... or else you will have NO SOCIAL LIFE. (Yep, I know how to salsa!!)
18. There's more plastic here in a square kilometer than at an International Tupperware Convention ... these boobs don't sag!
19. Motels aren't for sleep.
20. "The heart's memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good." (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Colombia is far from perfect. The social differences are staggering. Racism and classism are omnipresent. No society is perfect, and I've had the privilege to learn and continue to take the best of Colombia I can. It has made me, I believe, a better person: more tolerant, more aware, more appreciate of the United States as well as aware of the flaws of my country.  Colombia is my home.
Colombia, I love you. I'm grateful for all you've given me. I'm grateful that you've accepted me, my funny ways, and the accent that just won't go away. Every day I learn from you.
Happy Birthday to me!
What were the odds??
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Published on January 21, 2012 10:52 • 444 views
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message 1: by Cindy III (new)

Cindy III Happy 15 :)

message 2: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Thanks, Cindy!! Still waiting for my cake, though!

message 3: by Racheal (new)

Racheal I will make you some cake :D how about pineapple up-side down?

message 4: by Heidi (new)

Heidi OOh!! I'll take that. Thanks so much. (Though do you think the cake will get all gross during shipping?)

Thanks so much!!

message 5: by Racheal (new)

Racheal Hahaha, it just might, however if i made you a frozen cake... nahh that wouldn't work either :P

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