Start-up Diaries: You can’t change overnight

How do you say it? I asked Maria Paz.


She answered .

‘Huh, I would have guessed that meant “deceptive”. So, it means “disappointed”. Well, that’s how I feel , “decpcionado”. I’ve been in Chile for 7 months and I don’t feel as if my life has changed much at all.’

She was surprised to hear that, pointing out that I’d moved to a foreign country, that definitely my ability to speak Spanish had changed considerably.

Well, I’ll grant that, but many things of my life are disappointingly the same. I still spend too much time on tasks that don’t interest me.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t say, “When I grow up, I want to make PowerPoint presentations on traction in the marketplace.” Did you?

(If you’re an investor, though, I’d still like you to send me money.)

I still work most of my waking hours and have less time than I would like for  – well, anything – including research, hiking, reading, learning new programming languages, spending time with my family, visiting friends, and sleep.

I still find myself hopping on a plane every couple of weeks to go visit schools or present at conferences. I drink a lot of airport coffee and a lot of Chardonnay in airport bars. I spend a lot of time in imitation Holiday Inn hotels because it’s the nicest place to stay in whatever mid-sized city I happen to be in that night.

I still don’t appreciate my life enough, the fact that Tomé is green and sunny and beautiful today. Teachers from one-room schools to downtown Los Angeles are kind enough to take time from their day to tell me what they could use in their schools and I’m humbled by the impact they have in face of massive challenges. More kids than there are chairs? No internet ? Haha I laugh at your petty problems as I teach Maria who will be the first person in her family to learn to read.

“What, you mean to tell me you’re going to turn into another person? I don’t believe it.”

That’s what my friend, Jake Flores said when I saw him at Ronda’s wedding last year and told him I was, at some point , going to retire for real and do – I don’t know what, something.

Me, standing on top of a boulder in the Atacama Desert
Sometimes, you need to climb a mountain

There have been some minor changes. I take every Saturday off now. If you’re like most people and you take every Saturday AND Sunday off that probably does not seem like a big deal to you but it’s a change for me.

I’m writing this on a plane – which may seem like I haven’t changed at all, but I’m on a flight to the Atacama desert with my husband to celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary.

Yes, we’re only going for a couple of days but this is the sort of thing that I would always say I didn’t have time for, that we could do later when the kids are through college or the next grant is funded or we sign a contract for more school districts to buy our games or some time when we have an inexhaustible pile of money.

It occurred to me that the world is full of people who take holidays for a few days at a time and not only are not all of them independently wealthy but, in fact, many of them are far less well off than I am.

This is an effect of the culture in Chile, and it’s one that I intend to keep. People take off work on the weekends. They take holidays. They take vacations. And the whole country hasn’t fallen into a state of disrepair. It’s all right if work isn’t your whole life.

Does this mean our company is going to fall apart? I think quite the opposite. In fact, we’ve released a new game for 8 to 10-year-olds, Making Camp Premium, and we have another new game, Siglo De Cambio, being released this month – but that’s the point of another post.

Speaking of Making Camp Premium – Play it today! GET IT ON GOOGLE PLAY.

Making Camp Premium new options

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