Tinto

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and even though Brazil is the largest exporter in the world, when most people hear about Colombia they think about coffee and Juan Valdez. The name of the donkey is “conchita” so that you cannot accuse me that I am not educational, you learned something new today.

While visiting Colombia I did drink a lot of coffee. Bea’s family enjoys drinking coffee throughout the day and I was very glad. I drink a big cup of coffee or two in the morning here in the US, but over there I was content with smaller doses during the day.

“Tinto” is what Colombians call coffee, as in a “cup of joe.” It might mean little different ways of making it depending on the geographical region, but it almost always refers to coffee.

Bea’s Mom and I would sit every morning to have a cup of coffee first thing. We would sit there and talk about so many different things, from the meaning of life to the mundane. She had a very calming effect on me, her inner peace is easy to get drunk on. For someone that survived losing her husband and two of her kids, she is full of hope and will to live, but most of all inner peace.

One of the hardest things for me now is not to be able to sit down and drink a cup of coffee with her in the morning. I seldom find people that are morning people anymore. Not many people can stand the thought of having a talk about philosophy or religion first thing in the morning, but we would sit there and try to fix the world. I cannot wait to go back to Colombia and enjoy many cups of coffee with Bea and her family again.

Laser & Pistons

The anxiety had been building for a while now; the questions in my head had been trying to defeat my optimism on the drive to the appointment, but I kept on saying to myself, have faith, it will be ok. As I approached the waiting room I begin to get a little calmer and held the door open for an elderly couple that was lagging behind he on the way there. When I entered a guy in an auto shop uniform was staring at me, but I smiled and waited to see if the elderly couple wanted to talk to the receptionist first.

They sat down without talking to the lady and I went in to speak with her. She asked my name and all of my information in a now familiar tone of voice. I am at a place where most people are hard of hearing so everyone speaks a little louder with perfect enunciation. I filled in the paper work and waited while reading about how Sarah Palin has actually made enemies on her rise to political stardom. It was a welcomed distraction until my name was called.

The consultation took longer than an hour and a lot of instruments both high and low tech were used. The prognosis of the audiologist was correct, I have Otosclerosis which is going to be treated with an Stapedectomy. (See Picture here)

In very simple terms, a laser is going to blast away my stapes which will then be replaced by a state of the art piston that is made of some special memory polymer that will be attached to the existing long process of the anvil. Sounds kind of cool… unless its your head that is going to have lasers inside of it.

Overall its just a simple ambulatory procedure that the doctor seem to think it was no big deal. The potential complications are serious, but very low percentage. It is very possible that I will be going under the knife for the first ear (they cannot do both at once) next week. Recuperation time is about a month for the operation, about 4 moths to evaluate hearing results. So that is all I have at the moment.

Holding a Grudge since High School

I have several posts that I have been wanting to finish from my time in Colombia, but the various medical things put my mind in other things during the last week. Then a post from Nuke brought one of the topics back into focus.

During high school back in Colombia even though I was chubby I was still one of the smallest kids in our class and certainly the youngest. While I don’t consider every one of my classmates a bully I was a very easy target. There were a couple of people that really made my life miserable and sometimes I have wondered if I ever saw them face to face now as an adult if I would confront them, if it would be worth it.

I had the chance to see a couple of my classmates during my trip back to Colombia, and while we were exchanging e-mails some of them brought back the old names we used to call each other. Some of them were very offended by them and I certainly understood were they were coming from. Those days bring back some dark memories for me along with the good ones.

While someone could argue that everyone got picked on at one point or another, I was mercilessly picked on during 6 years with that group of people. It went from simply having my book bag hidden to the desk that my Dad had to buy for me (each person brought their own to the school) completely torn apart and even attempted to be set on fire. The physical abuse was not as often, but it did happen and it was probably the most frustrating because I just could not defend myself against some kids that were 4 years my seniors.

In Colombia you are with your classmates all the time, the teachers come to your classroom rather than you going to theirs with different groups of people. Most of my classmates were with me for the whole 6 years and we were all in the same classroom year after year.

Maybe it was the whole all boys school, or just that we were a bad group from the beginning, I remember we got in trouble more than any other group in our school. One of the meanest things that they ever did was our yearbook. While I was used to the stupid comments, to have something very vile written about you for your family to read was truly embarrassing. Even though I was not the only victim and many of my classmates had some incriminating and personal attacks written about them, it was still something that at the time hurt.

I healed from all of that. Moving here to the U.S. gave me the opportunity to start at a new school where the bullies I encountered were gang members that wanted to physically hurt me but were more at part with my size, that and my best friend in high school was pretty big and always had my back. I developed a sense of being very protective to those around me and I despise others taken advantage of someone weaker either physically or mentally. That is one of the main reasons for picking up a dragon as the tattoo I now have in my arm, because to me it represents many things and one of them is protecting others. Some of my college friends can tell you how far I will go when protecting a friend.

One of my classmates from back in high school was a very quiet boy. Extremely intelligent and someone that I learned a lot about chess from. We were never extremely close during those times, but I knew who he was and liked him a lot. I did not know that he was picked on, and did not know how much the words in that year book had hurt him. It has been over 15 years since those days and he is still very angry at the people that wrote it. I have written it off as it was immature boys doing immature things; he in the other hand still holds a grudge.

We had an awesome time when we got together and talked about a lot of things, but it was not until later when I posted some of the pictures I took that the comments back and forth between old classmates turned ugly. It was sad in many ways, but I think the pain is real, I think the need to feel respected back then and now are probably the same, I think some of the wounds never healed.

I am glad some of those wounds for me as simple scars now, but again I am not perfect and if I encountered one of the bullies that physically abused me back then I am not sure if I would be the better man or not… I hope so. So when Nuke talked about being a bully to another bully I was torn… between cheering him on for taking on a bully to others and understanding that he does not want to become what he is trying to fight against.

Meet the press

I was shocked and awed when one of my favorite public figures and maybe the most influential military mind of our times Colin Powell endorsed Obama.

As a former republican, I consider myself an independent now, I used to think that Powell could actually be the first minority president of the United States. I have always liked his character, his demeanor and his way of thinking.

We still got some time to go on this race, but the 100 and 75 thousand crowds in St Louis and Kansas City are another testament that Obama is being identified as the candidate that will lead the nation out of these horrible times of war and financial inestability.

Attitude is everything

I remember when I got a shirt from my Dad’s work, he used to work for Successories, that said just that, “Attitude is Everything.”

That holds true in almost every single situation in life, not controlling the outside world which is impossible, but how we see and respond to it. If you constantly think that the worse is going to happen it will, if you believe in the power of positive thinking it will also have an effect in your life.

I have been scared this week with the impending prognosis of my ear condition, but I have stayed positive. With the help of my wife, family and friends I have been casting doubt out and in the end what is the worse that can happen? Being deaf? I already started to learn sign language in the past and I am sure I can learn to read lips. While I don’t believe that will be the outcome, I know that there are plenty of people leaving in this world that are deaf and are completely happy.

My trip to Colombia was once again life changing. I saw how people with a lot less than I have seem to be much more content and that gave me hope. I know with a great attitude I can make people smile, now I just have to be positive a let that be the driver of my life. I believe there is a God and that to him nothing is impossible.

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