Published: November 26th 2010November 26th 2010
Here is an excerpt from my new Colombia blog, The Tall Gringo. The blog chronicles my year teaching English in Colombia for WorldTeach.
As you can see, I am pretty much as gringo as they come.
If, at first glance, my blue eyes, brown hair and pale skin don’t give it away, the second I open my mouth, you will soon learn that my conversational Spanish is about as good as George W. Bush's English.
I haven’t even been to Latin America before. Not even Mexico.
So when I tell people, “Colombia. Yeah, I’m going there,” they assume I’m talking about grad school.
But then I shake my head and say, “No, I’m going Colombia… the country.”
At first, they might say, “That’s cool! What a great experience that will be.”
But then the thought registers; cocaine and Shakira and guerillas, oh my!
Right about then, they look at me like I’m crazy. Maybe not so much about the Shakira part, but definitely the other two things.
Maybe they’re right to look at me that way.
After all, I did sacrifice an impending promotion at a perfectly good “real world” job in order to leave behind everything I know and love to devote a year of my life making next to nothing helping disadvantaged populations in South America.
So, if I know that what I’m doing is crazy, why am I still doing it?
Well, I’ll tell you.
All my life, I’ve walked the practical path. I had a more or less cookie-cutter childhood, went to college, graduated in four years and found a “real” job. People told me I should be proud of how well I had done for myself, and I was, but nonetheless found myself in want of something more. I knew I could never be satisfied with doing well solely for myself; I also needed to find a way to do well for others. I needed to break away from the safe harbor and do something truly significant.
And then I found WorldTeach.
Read the entire post at: The Tall Gringo