Toothy Wisdom

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Today, all of my wisdom teeth are coming out. Therefore, I would like to share with you all a few wise thoughts, from my collective life experiences, before they are gone with my teeth. Surprisingly, (or not, considering I am getting my teeth out) the majority have to do with food.

1. You always come out higher on an IQ test if you do it with a friend.

2. When baking in high altitudes, like Bogota, always reduce the amount of leavening ingredients.

3. The internet knows every thing, especially about hairstyles.

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4. Christmas decorations really help December feel like Christmas, no matter the weather.
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5. Getting people to understand that you physically cannot move your hips in a salsa beat is more difficult than it might appear. In dire straits, plead cold climates and ethnic Mennonite heritage. If all seems lost, aguardiente shots are a good last resort.

6. It is okay to change your mind, your education, your career, your beliefs and your personal style.

7. Never drive with two other people on a motorcycle. In fact, for the sake of your knees, try to avoid motorcycles altogether.

8. At Colombian bakeries, try to avoid the brown cake. It might look like a delicious oversized truffle, but in reality, it is only a dense, oily, brown flavoured sugar bomb. I am disappointed every time.

9. Always use the backside of the knife to scrape veggies, etc., off the cutting board to keep the blade sharp.

10. Never ever slam the front door to your apartment building if said building is only populated by retired people. They will indirectly accuse you of being a very bad person and not invite you to any building meetings. Every time you see more than one of them in an apartment, you will suspect them of conspiring to somehow kick you out of the building or at least learning something about garbage policies that you don’t know and will therefore later receive fines.

11. Always ask for extra napkins when eating tacos.
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12. I have no idea how to stop ants from invading my bed. Wisdom lies in the ability to admit a lack of answers.

13. Brownies, made in a toaster oven in a small Colombian community, are a perfectly acceptable breakfast food.
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14. A mark of wealth and social standing in a poorer community is the presence of a fridge in someone’s home, even if it is only used for storing water.

15. In order to stay sane, I have found it helpful to laugh often, read my horoscope and drink copious amounts of coffee.

16. Believing that people are basically good instead of basically bad provides the freedom to trust and to love.

17. Positioning your body sideways in a hammock, rather than lying like a banana, is conducive to a better night’s sleep. Wrapping yourself in a sheet helps with the mosquitoes.

18. Stopping for coconut water during long (and short) journeys on the coast is life saving.
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19. In your relationships, allow and provide opportunities for people to amaze you. They will not let you down if you treat them with the dignity inherent in all living beings.

20. You can survive on eggs, tomatoes and onions for two years.

21. When making 5000 (mas o menos) cookies for a Christmas event, if always helps to have friends come over, to at least help eat the dough so you don’t have to make as many.

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22. In development work, slower and in partnership is always best.

23. Don’t try to save the world. You can’t. But you can try to have hope.

24. Listen to public radio and read good books, including Calvin and Hobbes. You can never go wrong with Bill Watterson.
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25. If taking part in large nonviolent movements, always bring your own bucket to use for bathing and an extra roll of toilet paper.

26. When trying to dress in style in Bogota, wear more jewellery than you think is necessary. As long as it is the same colour as your fingernails, you will fit right in.

27. Speaking of fingernails, be careful of street corner manicures. They might be cheap, but your chance of blood borne illness could dramatically increase if instruments are not thoroughly cleaned between customers.

28. Never go to cock fights. Trust me.

29. Poetry is amazing. Read some every day, preferably with coffee. If you are not having poetry, at least have coffee.

30. Cheesecake and coffee for breakfast at Mila’s in Cartagena before meetings is always a good idea.
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31. Surprise yourself often with who you are and who you are becoming.

32. The beach at sunset is the best place in the world.
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33. My advice is nothing compared the advice of these people who have probably all already lost their teeth.

34. Llamas are awesome!

Wish me luck! I’m going under.

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