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Friday, July 27, 2012

The two dollar circus of death

July 20th was Colombian Independence Day so in honor of this I was invited to go on a trip with one of my clients since it was a public holiday. It was a small town about four hours away from Bogota. Due to the traffic on the holiday weekend my client wanted to leave at 5am! It was really early but we beat most of the traffic. My client is married and has two sons. His family is really nice and they all speak pretty good English, I work with him every morning on his English and his kids English is pretty good.

Well we got there and the first thing he showed me was the hostel he is building. It will be an eight room hostel with cable tv and air conditioning. He is about one month away from completion! He is also constructing a restaurant to go along with the hostel and he is hoping to buy some more land to build a recreational fish pond and fish related restaurant so he has many plans in the works!

He bought a 1964 Jeep, just something to drive around town in and nothing special. None of the gauges or seat belts even worked but, I was chauffeured around by his 13 year old son William. All things considered, he was actually a decent driver considering what he had to work with haha. He also took me for a ride on his motorcycle. He brother Diego was 16, almost 17. After they gave me the tour of the town I relaxed at the hostel and met all their extended family. Family in Colombia is totally different than back home. Colombians live with their parents basically until they get married or until their mid 30's. Family is a daily thing. You see ALL your extended family all the time, not just on holidays.

Now I guess I should tell you about this circus of death haha. So there was a little carnival/festival in town and since this is such a small town I am sure this is more excitement than the people had seen in a long long time. They just don't have the population to bring the big acts into town. At this circus (it was based out of Peru) of course they spoke only Spanish, and they had a strange accent and spoke really fast so I didn't understand much. We were sitting front row so I was terrified they were going to pick on "El Gringo" aka me. Thank God they didn't!

Once the acts started, there was no need for language so that was good for me. The ticket to the circus cost only two dollars but they didn't things that would be so   illegal in America. They had ZERO safety gear. For example, they had a guy come out with his two little girls, he claimed one of them was two years old and the other one looked to be about five or six. He then proceeded to put them on a ladder (they climbed to the top) and he balanced it on his face! It was so dangerous and if those girls would have fallen off, the little girl would most likely have been severely injured if not killed. I was not a fan of them exploiting little children just for more crowd appeal. But, the crowd did love it!

We also went on a tour of Lake Prado which was beautiful lake close to our little town. It was so nice and relaxing and that day the weather was beautiful (a great change compared to Bogota!) I went there with Diego and his family, including the mother in laws. They fussed over me like hens... So worried I would drown they forced me to wear a life jacket even in water I could stand up in! haha. It was nice to know that people cared though. I got a lot of good food and good times. I certainly can't complain. Our drive home took forever due to the terrible traffic but I had a really great time and Diego and his family were super nice to me, showing me around and letting me experience new things and new foods and drinks.

On a little side note, things are going great for me and my new girlfriend Viviana. I couldn't be happier! But we are taking this one day at a time and we will see how this all goes. Wish me luck. I have had a lot of ups and downs with my relationships but maybe this one will stick. It is different for both of us because she has a child and speaks no English! But, honestly neither of those things has been a huge problem for me. I am learning Spanish quickly now!! I will keep you updated :)

Yall take care,Tyler

Immigration in Colombia

I have been to many immigration offices all over the world for a variety of different visas and reasons. In Asia you fill out one piece of paper and give them your money (cash only of course) and then you get your stamp/visa no questions asked. In Australia and New Zealand it is all done via the Internet and is a pretty straight forward and easy process. You can even pay by credit card if you so choose :)

Not so in Colombia. This was by far the strictest most complicated visa application process I have ever gone through. First off I went to one office for my visa and they informed me I was at the wrong office. (Luckily I didn't wait hours there to find this out) I show up at the proper office after that, expecting to be in and out. Man was I was wrong! I get there and get a number and wait, and wait..... Two hours later I got called into a little office and had to be interviewed by a gentleman as to why I wanted to stay in Colombia. At first he seemed kind of hostile and I started to get nervous that my visa was going to get denied. Luckily I had my Spanish speaking friend with me and he goes to a very prominent university here and for whatever reason this immigration officer seemed to really like that. By the end of the interview he was laughing and joking with me and I could relax.

After a total of 3.5 hours of my life at this immigration office I was told I had 15 days to go to yet ANOTHER office and submit all my now approved paperwork. So the next day I show up at this office assuming I would just hand them all my paperwork and be done with (again I was wrong) I had to 150,000 pesos (about 75 bucks) at this one specific bank which was not located near the office at all so I had to walk 5 blocks to do it. In addition, the previous immigration office said they needed passport photos of me in a WHITE background. Well this second office claimed they needed pictures in a BLUE background only.  So the eight pictures I had of myself in white were useless! So very frustrating.... Well of course there was no where near the office that took pictures in a blue background so I started walking looking for a place.

I walked and walked and walked. After one hour of walking I finally found a place! I kept telling myself, there has to be a place on the next block etc. So after about two hours I made it back to the immigration office and had all the required paperwork and payment etc. Then I had to wait. Again. 3.5 hours later I was called in and they took my finger prints. Twice. once electronically and once manually. So they certainly covered their bases.

Now after seven hours of my life at various immigration offices in two weeks I will have my official Colombian National ID card and visa :). Such a complicated long process but now its over! Yall take care,Tyler

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is the way to go out!

All credit goes to the now deceased author, Val Patterson and The Salt Lake Tribune along with Starks Funeral Home. I didn't write this, I am just sharing it because it was inspiring to me.

1953 - 2012
I was Born in Salt Lake City, March 27th 1953. I died of Throat Cancer on July 10th 2012. I went to six different grade schools, then to Churchill, Skyline and the U of U. I loved school, Salt Lake City, the mountains, Utah. I was a true Scientist. Electronics, chemistry, physics, auto mechanic, wood worker, artist, inventor, business man, ribald comedian, husband, brother, son, cat lover, cynic. I had a lot of fun. It was an honor for me to be friends with some truly great people. I thank you. I've had great joy living and playing with my dog, my cats and my parrot. But, the one special thing that made my spirit whole, is my long love and friendship with my remarkable wife, my beloved Mary Jane. I loved her more than I have words to express. Every moment spent with my Mary Jane was time spent wisely. Over time, I became one with her, inseparable, happy, fulfilled. I enjoyed one good life. Traveled to every place on earth that I ever wanted to go. Had every job that I wanted to have. Learned all that I wanted to learn. Fixed everything I wanted to fix. Eaten everything I wanted to eat. My life motto was: "Anything for a Laugh". Other mottos were "If you can break it, I can fix it", "Don't apply for a job, create one". I had three requirements for seeking a great job; 1 - All glory, 2 - Top pay, 3 - No work.

Now that I have gone to my reward, I have confessions and things I should now say. As it turns out, I AM the guy who stole the safe from the Motor View Drive Inn back in June, 1971. I could have left that unsaid, but I wanted to get it off my chest. Also, I really am NOT a PhD. What happened was that the day I went to pay off my college student loan at the U of U, the girl working there put my receipt into the wrong stack, and two weeks later, a PhD diploma came in the mail. I didn't even graduate, I only had about 3 years of college credit. In fact, I never did even learn what the letters "PhD" even stood for. For all of the Electronic Engineers I have worked with, I'm sorry, but you have to admit my designs always worked very well, and were well engineered, and I always made you laugh at work. Now to that really mean Park Ranger; after all, it was me that rolled those rocks into your geyser and ruined it. I did notice a few years later that you did get Old Faithful working again. To Disneyland - you can now throw away that "Banned for Life" file you have on me, I'm not a problem anymore - and SeaWorld San Diego, too, if you read this.

To the gang: We grew up in the very best time to grow up in the history of America. The best music, muscle cars, cheap gas, fun kegs, buying a car for "a buck a year" - before Salt Lake got ruined by over population and Lake Powell was brand new. TV was boring back then, so we went outside and actually had lives. We always tried to have as much fun as possible without doing harm to anybody - we did a good job at that.
If you are trying to decide if you knew me, this might help… My father was RD "Dale" Patterson, older brother "Stan" Patterson, and sister "Bunny" who died in a terrible car wreck when she was a Junior at Skyline. My mom "Ona" and brother "Don" are still alive and well. In college I worked at Vaughns Conoco on 45th South and 29th East. Mary and I are the ones who worked in Saudi Arabia for 8 years when we were young. Mary Jane is now a Fitness Instructor at Golds on Van Winkle - you might be one of her students - see what a lucky guy I am? Yeah, no kidding.

My regret is that I felt invincible when young and smoked cigarettes when I knew they were bad for me. Now, to make it worse, I have robbed my beloved Mary Jane of a decade or more of the two of us growing old together and laughing at all the thousands of simple things that we have come to enjoy and fill our lives with such happy words and moments. My pain is enormous, but it pales in comparison to watching my wife feel my pain as she lovingly cares for and comforts me. I feel such the "thief" now - for stealing so much from her - there is no pill I can take to erase that pain.

If you knew me or not, dear reader, I am happy you got this far into my letter. I speak as a person who had a great life to look back on. My family is following my wishes that I not have a funeral or burial. If you knew me, remember me in your own way. If you want to live forever, then don't stop breathing, like I did.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 22nd from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, casual dress is encouraged.
Online condolences may be offered and memorial video may be viewed at

Published in Salt Lake Tribune from July 15 to July 22, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Top regrets of the dying

I took this post from Here so I can't take credit for this great stuff this time around.

Here are the top five regrets of the dying,
1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

What's your greatest regret so far, and what will you set out to achieve or change before you die?

 I hope this inspires you a little bit to think hard about your your life. Take care,Tyler

Monday, July 16, 2012

It has been almost two weeks!

I can't hardly believe it myself but it has been nearly two weeks since yall have heard from me! I have just been really busy I do apologize. Not busy with anything in particular mind you, just life. Work was slow for a bit due to summer holidays here but it has been picking up lately. I have been doing some traveling in and around Bogota (when weather and traffic permit,that is) Also I met a now dear friend of mine. We met here in Bogota, Mark of Click Here is a really good guy. He found me via my blog and then we met up here in Bogota. He is a Canadian/American (Born in Canada,moved to The States for most of his life and now lives in Toronto Canada).

Anyway, he is driving his Nissan Xterra from Toronto Canada to the bottom of South America! That is well over 30,000 miles! and he is alone. He is one of adventure for sure. He had roughly 1.5 weeks in Bogota and we spent a lot of time going out and having fun. I showed him around my newly adopted city. He is pretty used to driving in Latin America now since he has made it through Mexico and most of Central America. My hat is off to him though, I could never deal with the insane drivers here! They are so impatient and they will honk at you BEFORE the light is even green. The whole city honks and it is so annoying! They will drive all over the road and have zero respect for pedestrians. It is wild!

I have seen a few traffic accidents here (an amazingly small amount considering how they drive here!) Well the other day I saw a bad one. A real bad one. I only came upon it after it happened but to me it looked like a car had hit a guy on a motorcycle and the guy on the motorcycle was not moving at all. :( Helmets are 100% required by law here and everyone wears one but in this case I am not sure how much it helped. :( I hoped for the best for that guy though.

This weekend is a public holiday here, yes again haha. (Colombian Independence Day this time) and I am going with a friend of mine and one of my clients to a part of Colombia called Boyacya about four hours from Bogota. My client owns a hostel up there and we are going to have a nice relaxing weekend up there and I am excited to get away again for a while even if it is just for a short time.

I am seeing someone new now. We only just started seeing each other recently so I don't want to jump the gun and jinx myself just yet but I figured I would let yall know. She is really nice and we are having a good time so far. She speaks only Spanish and no English so as you can imagine my Spanish is improving rapidly haha :P no other big news to report though.

Take care out there wherever you might be, my dear readers! -Tyler

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

How to make a positive change in your life

This is my short follow up video to my last video. Here is my way to make positive changes in your life.