39 years ago I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism. My intention was to be an advertising copywriter, but I couldn't find a job within that field in Atlanta and was intimidated by the thought of leaving my hometown. My worldly travels at that point in life hadn't extended much beyond summer vacations to Daytona Beach, FL. Plus Cynthia and I were about to be married, so I took an administrative assistant (translated: gopher) job at Blue Cross Blue Shield where I had worked during holidays and summers.
After rapidly rising through the ranks there I left to start a retail plant shop that grew (pardon the pun) into a super-successful interior landscaping company which we owned for 15 years before selling it. Then I started another business, got tired of owning businesses and became a marketing rep with several companies before saying "Enough!" and moving here.
The point of this brief career resume is I pretty much never did a damn thing with my degree (my major was in advertising) except promote my own companies. Well, that and deciding to spell my name with 2 "d's" to make it more memorable.
So it's with a little bit of pride and a lot of astonishment that I announce starting next Friday I will be writing a weekly column for El Mercurio, the largest daily newspaper in Cuenca. And as far as anyone knows it will be the only column in all of Ecuador published in both English and Spanish.
It would be fair for you to ask, "How in the hell did that happen?." And you wouldn't be surprised if I answered, "It's a long story-------." But it's actually a very short story. Just last week I mentioned to a Cuencano friend of mine who writes a column that it might be nice for the paper to print a monthly spotlight article on a different gringo who is volunteering or assisting the city in some capacity. He expanded on this suggestion by pitching the editor on having a gringo write a weekly column. She loved the idea (it turns out we know each other well because she's the daughter of a family I'm very close to, but she didn't know the gringo was me until today). We had a meeting this morning to finalize the plan, I had my picture taken to accompany my column, and off we go.
What am I going to write about? Whatever I want. There's a great curiosity among the locals about why these people from the US have moved to Cuenca of all places that I want to address. Various charitable efforts we're engaged in might be spotlighted. Asking why the Spanish word for "feminine" is masculine (feminino)is some potential hard-hitting material. Like this blog, I'll write whatever I decide is interesting--and humorous as much as possible.
The great news about all this is it's never too late. So please never stop dreaming. Your intentions, if honorable, may sometimes manifest in unusual ways, unexpected times, and unbelievable places.
PS. I need to come up with a name for this column. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated and considered.