Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I'm Smiling

I’ll tell you why I’m smiling. It’s easy to take things for granted, no matter how good you have it. During the last two weeks, I’ve had more than a few good reasons to take a step back and appreciate the goodness. I’ll start with the relatively boring stuff.

At the end of November I headed to Bogotá to take the GRE. As I mentioned before, I’m knee-deep in the process of applying to graduate schools to chase a Master’s degree in Education. The test went really well—definitely well enough that I won’t be taking it again, and that’s a big reason to give thanks.

After taking the test, I had a few days to kick back and enjoy Bogotá, and a whole new side of the country where I live. Some highlights: enjoying the hospitality of Shay, a friend of Javi’s from waaaaaaay back.... Nick’s restaurant in Chapinero, including the Chapinero Porter from the Bogotá Beer Company... experiencing the madness of a Copa Sudamericana semifinal match between Millonarios and Tigre at El Campín...

Honestly, none of that compares to the pleasure of reconnecting with my brother from another, Mr. Taylor, who's recently relocated to Bogotá. We’ve done San Francisco, Oakland, Washington D.C., Costa Rica, and Mexico, so why not try to conquer Colombia

After a strong week in the capital, I returned to the Caribbean Coast. The first thing I did was stuff my jacket back in my suitcase under the bed—won’t be needing that in Barranquilla. Then I set my focus on taking another huge step in the grad school process—I actually and finally turned in my application to UC Berkeley. If you’re one of the many people who think the job description for my current work was specifically written with me in mind, then you’ll probably feel the same way about this program at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. I just hope the powers-that-be in the ivory tower will feel the same way. It’s an M.A. in Education, with a concentration in Cultural Studies of Sport in Education. I’m applying to several other programs, but until I actually complete another application, this one will remain my top choice.

Sticking with the theme of academic milestones: my 11 year old host-brother graduated from ? grade, giving the grown folks another good reason to smile (and party).

As if the relocation of Mr. Taylor wasn’t enough, I was blessed this week with a visit from my cousin Rodger. Before I go any further, I should clarify something. I share absolutely no blood with Eli and Rodger, but they are still my family.* Mr. Taylor is my bruh bruh, and Rodger is my cuz-cuz.** Anyway, Rodger made a cameo in Barranquilla over the weekend before heading on to Cartagena to connect with some of our old friends from the high school days who are in-country for a vacation. A good time was had by all.

Honestly, the only low-point came last Friday during our weekly friendly football game. About twenty minutes into the game I received a pass and made a quick move to shake the defender. Just then I heard and felt it—the rip, the tear that every athlete fears. The sound of a career-ending injury. Fortunately, I have no playing career, and even more fortunately, it was only the sound of my turf shoes finally giving out. They’ve served me well, through six countries and billions of hours of coaching and playing. Luckily, I had just picked up my replacements from Eli, imported directly from the States. Hopefully, this pair will bring me as much joy as the last one.

Pura Vida,


* I do actually have a "real" cousin named Roger, but he spells his name without the "d" and he's probably reading this from Martha's Vineyard, MA, not Colombia.

** Not to be confused with the famous North African dish, or the small village in Peru

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