How things are different…and how they are the same

24 10 2011

Life in Barranquilla is, in many ways, very different from life in Oklahoma.  Here’s a sampling:

1.  You do not flush toilet paper.  you throw it in the trashcan.  It takes some getting used to.  Old habits die hard.

2. American personal space is not really, um, excepted here.  This is a very touchy-feely culture.  I left my personal space issues (or at least 98% of them) at the border.

3. It’s hot here all the time.  And humid.  Last week felt like fall, but that was an exception.

4. Everything is in Spanish.  Like, everything.

5. People are nice in Oklahoma, but people are waaaaaay nicer here.

6. You can drink water from a plastic bag.  I’m not talented enough to pull that off without getting it all over myself.

7. You hang your clothes out to dry….even your (gasp) underwear!

8. Rain can literally shut the city down.

9. There is no postal service.  Not really, anyway.

10. They assign seats to you in movie theaters.  Even if it’s just you and 5 other people.

 

A lot of things are the same though.  People live their lives.  They enjoy one another’s company.  They host parties and give gifts and love each other.  They work and play and cook and read.  They laugh.

 

In a lot of ways, being in Colombia has been extremely challenging.  In fact, I would say that it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  But I know that when I go home in two months-ish that the things that will matter will be the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made.  And the things they taught me about being a Christian, a teacher,  a friend, and a decent person in general.  Hopefully, the rest will just be funny stories.