Strong Friendships

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Angelica Richardson is a Practical English for Success (PES) volunteer serving in a pueblo in Magdalena, Colombia.

To me, friendship is pure happiness that is rooted in mutual respect and admiration.  Every time I look at pictures that have me with Nazly or Claudia, I see those things. These are the two women that I consider my friends and family here in my pueblo in Central Magdalena. They are strong, brilliant, and most importantly, welcoming.

I remember the first time I met Nazly in the sala de profesores. She introduced herself as one of the English teachers and from her presence, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with her. It is amazing how you can get such good vibes from someone during the initial encounter. Now our friendship is one of the most cherished Colombian relationships that I have. I admire her so much! She is well invested in her career as a teacher and a mother.

While I don’t remember the exact moment of when I met Claudia, I do recall her being very welcoming in the beginning. She would greet me with this energetic smile in the sala de profesores. One day she invited me to her house and I’ve been visiting ever since. Claudia is generous and the love that she has for her children is so precious. She models the mother that I hope to become someday.

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Recently Nazly and Claudia came together to plan my 25th Birthday. It was awesome! On my actual birthday, Nazly surprised me with a party at school. I had an orange flavored cake, my favorite Colombian flavor. It even had orange frosting which is my favorite color. She also gifted me a nice Vallenato design wallet.

During the weekend, Claudia and her family held a birthday for me at her sister in-laws. She knows that my favorite Colombian soup is sancocho de gallina; so that was what she served. It of course would not have been a Colombian party if I didn’t dance with all the uncles. It’s always nice to get compliments on your moves.

These women have opened up not just their lives but their hearts to me. Whether it’s food, household items, or a hug; they always offer me some sort of comfort. This has influenced me to give more to people when they visit. Yes, I offered water or something to drink when my friends came over, but I definitely didn’t offer up my spaghetti. I look to continue this generosity when I return to the States.

I’m grateful for the sharing aspect of Colombian culture.

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