Teachers from Politecnico at Karen's Pizza in Las Mercedes, Plamira

Palmira, hasta luego

Tomorrow is my last full day in Palmira

I’m writing this after leaving school for the last time and going for lunch with my co-teachers. So, this post might get a bit sentimental.

Teachers from Politecnico at Karen's Pizza in Las Mercedes, Plamira
Aydee, Livia Estella, me, Adela, Alvaro, Gladys, Patricia and Francia at Karen’s Pizza in Las Mercedes, Plamira

Altogether I’ve been here for ten months. I’ve settled in so much that it is going to be an awful wrench when I go. I’ve had a wonderful time here and have made some lifelong friends. I am truly grateful to the power of the Internet that will make it easier for me to stay in touch with them.

My fellow teachers have welcomed me to their school and into their hearts, sung to me, cooked me lunch, taken me out for the day to visit their finca, made me sing with them, fondled me, practised their English with me, taken me on holiday, set me up with salsa lessons, forced me to eat three salpicons before breakfast and helped me make sense of the chaos and disorder that is a Colombian public school.

Along the way we have spent many hours in classrooms together, sometimes at what feels like the middle of the night and at other times in temperatures that threaten to break the thermometers. They have helped me to bring some of my culture into the life of our school and they have helped me enormously in the classroom. 

Chaos, what chaos? Year 10 students at the end of an indoor 3-legged race
Chaos, what chaos? Year 10 students at the end of an indoor 3-legged race

They’ve done all of this with grace, with open hearts and with a sense of enjoyment that verges on devilment.

I have always felt incredibly lucky and privileged to have the chance to make this trip. I now feel incredibly lucky and privileged because it has meant that I have met and got to know my friends from Palmira.

When I came away I had the intention of working in a different country and getting to know the place and the people. I’ve done that here and the truth is just hitting me that I have made friends and now I am leaving them.

In part, that feels arrogant and manipulative. I’ve come and made people care about me and now I am off on my adventures again.

So, of course, I’ve promised many of them that I will be coming back, although I can’t say when. And I truly do mean it. In fact, I can’t imagine not coming back and seeing everyone. I imagine this will be the thought that’ll sustain me as I move further and further away from Palmira and from Colombia.

Hasta luego amigos y gracias por todos

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