a work day

Date April 10, 2008

A friend asked me a couple of days ago:

Is work just work there? Or do you wake up everyday and think “dang, i’m going to work today in Colombia!”  I’ve always thought it would be so neat to live/work in an exotic place but wondered if it gets mundane, too.

I read over it and laughed initally because this friend of mine has an itch to just get up and go and a life that hasn’t let him yet.  And then I took a second to think about it.  The answer was a pretty easy one.  Sure, somedays work in Colombia is just work, but most days I see something entirely different. 

I see the fog rising, hiding from the sun, and the peaks of the Los Nevaros shimmering with fresh snow in the distance.  I walk out of my classroom door and see flowers and birds in colors that I’d only dreamed of before.  I hear the children chattering in Spanish and the thump, thump, thump of a jump rope in the corridor.  I watch as these little Colombian children hang on to my stories of Mississippi and the United States — a place they’ve only seen in movies —  and how they keep the wrappers of Rice Krispie treats like they’re treasures just because they were mailed from there.  I stand totally stunned as my students dance with each other unashamedly and hold hands with their siblings and friends as though it’s the most natural thing in all of the world.  I melt at afternoon goodbyes that come with, “I’ll miss you til tomorrow”s and mornings that start with traditional Colombian kisses.  I hear the sounds of bongos, the rhythms of salsa, the beginning hums of a brand new day and I know that work here is anything but mundane.

13 Responses to “a work day”

  1. Lou said:

    Enjoyed! I am passing your blog site and e-mail on to some of the church folks that were asking about you.

  2. Lynn P. said:

    So good to hear from you!!! You were in my thoughts just the other day!!!
    Glad life is good for u in South America!!
    Love u!!!

  3. Kim Patterson said:

    Emily – you are the bravest person I know – I would never have the nerve to up and move to South America!! You are my newest hero! Your writing is so lovely, inspiring, and insightful. I treasure each snapshot from your wonderful life in Columbia. Thanks for sharing. Love you! K

  4. betty anderson crane said:

    Em, I’m glad that you’re able to learn and to appreciate diversity! Some things never change…the beauty of the natural world and the beauty of “simple” fun of childhood. Ms. Betty

  5. me.. said:

    done……. all caught up…… proud?

  6. Luca said:

    How well I can picture the sights and sounds with your beautiful discriptions. We are almost there with you!
    Blessings to you as you have blessed!

  7. Jimmy said:

    Have you been hiking in the Andes yet?

  8. Joyce said:

    YOU have done it again!!!!! It makes me sad for most people here who never seem to look around outside their luxury homes and cars to see the beauty GOD created. To be able to feel the simplicity of a people who still know how to do something as simple as laugh, make music and love those around them, even if they are different or perhaps, because they are different.

    Live life to the fullest

    My love to you always

  9. sharon martin said:

    I love what I have read so far and I think you are great !!! Keep doing what you do.A big smile from home. We love you

  10. sharon martin said:

    I think you are doing a great thing and we love you from the whole gang her at home oxford, ms

  11. Brittany said:

    You are such a wonderful writer. No pictures needed because your words form pictures in the readers mind. Your blog makes me want to shut mine down. I intentionally do not visit your blog everyday in hopes that when I return there will be multiple posts to enjoy for each one leaves me wanting me. I am jealous (in all good ways) of your storytelling abilities.

  12. Katie said:

    emily, bff: i just loved reading your thoughts, they are truly amazing and so enjoyable. i am glad to hear that things are going good for you. i pray for you continuously and hope you are treasuring every moment of this opportunity!! take care my bff–i love you.

  13. Emily said:

    Wow…just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I spent a year in Mexico teaching English and working in orphanages and soup kitchens, so reading this post kind of felt like reading my own journal. Some days I got up just focusing on getting a job done, but other days I woke up completely in awe of where I was. And also completely dumbfounded by the fact that I was all by myself, 18, and in a foreign country. Can’t wait to come back here and hear some more of your stories!