Hola Hola! This is a brand new Latin column that we hope you will see often in The Harbus.
So let me start talking about the column’s name. We chose Viva HBS! Pretty simple.But what is important is what it means. HBS, you know. Viva! could be translated to Go! (You Boston guys would say Viva Red Sox! or even better Viva el Papi! to get some Latin flavor to it). So there you go, Viva HBS!
A good way to start this column was to reflect on what being Latin-American means. The truth is I never thought about this before coming here, and I figured what better place to post my incoherent ramblings than where all my two-year classmates (sky-deck ones included), the future CEOs of the companies I’ll be working for, and the future presidents of the countries I’ll be living in, will read it.
I wanted to start with a little context. I think it is fair to say that today is not Latin-America’s finest day. If you read Friedman’s The World is Flat, you may remember the comparisons between regions and neighborhoods, and the mention of Latin America as a great place to go on a Saturday night, but not as a good business destination. That hurts. But we are aware of that, and in fact that’s why most of us are here. And I hope the best of us will get what it takes to try and change things down there.
Ok. Fair is fair, and we are aware that (with some honorable exceptions) we are a little behind the curve in this new and dynamic world economy. And our minds are open to learning from the best. I am proud to say I’ve been attending Chair Meetings instead of taking siestas, and I even participated actively in a 25-minute discussion titled Discovering Innovative and Respectful Section Rules Capable of Increasing the Fun-ness of Our Section Experience.
BUT being here I have also come to recognize another aspect of being Latin I was not aware of, and I am not ashamed to tell you that I love and am proud of: the Latin attitude towards life. Such a vague concept, I know.but I will try to show you what I mean with a couple examples:
Situation one, pre-party in a sectionmate’s house, already an hour late for a birthday party in a bar. I approach my Latin friend, and we engage in the following dialogue:
“Hey, shouldn’t we get going to the party? They said that if we arrive later than 10 (it was 11 already) there’s no way we can get into the bar.”
“Yeah.you are right, but it’s so nice in here. Let’s stay for awhile; everything is going to be ok“
“You think so?”
“Probably not.but it’s so nice in here.”
I love this. We kind of knew we would probably have to go through hell to get into the party (we actually did), but who can take from you that additional hour of unconscious pleasure? I would even be tempted to say that carpe diem is a Latin phrase, if it was not such a pathetic comment.
Situation two, I go into a Latin classmate’s apartment for a pre-party. I get in there, and there are around 20 Latin guys I’ve never met. I introduce myself and I get into this dialogue:
“So, you are Patricio?”
“Yeah, nice to m..”
(glass of tequila in my hand, collective hugs, another glass of tequila, singing Mexican ma¤anitas, another glass of tequila, being in the back of a cab heading towards Rumor, more singing, deep and moving conversations at a volume equal to non-Latin people’s volume times 20 in Rumor’s line, my movements on the Rumor dance floor refuting the theory that all Latin people can dance.)
So the next morning, after three coffees, two Tylenol, several “This is the last time; I am too old for this” reflections, I realize this is not usual. The warmth, friendliness of the Latin people is not usual at all! I personally think it is the best.
This is all for now, I do not know if I convinced you or not. But you have two years to check out if the Latin people are the coolest or not. My advice? Don’t waste time. Just put The Harbus down and go hug your closest Latin sectionmate. I am sure you will be hugged back.