Chapter Descriptions Reveal

The countdown to the book release is winding down… just over two weeks to go. The cover is set, you can read an excerpt from chapter four, and now for a detailed look at the book.

Here are the official chapter listings (and not so official descriptions) about what Misspelled Paradise is all about:


Where a prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia reminds me how to properly spell the country.

Chapter 1: Bogotá

Where I get my first introduction to Colombia through immigration bureaucracy, life-threatening traffic, and Bogotá’s Plaza Bolívar.

Chapter 2: Saying Buenas to Santa Ana

Where I move to the tiny Caribbean town that would become my home and get introduced to the local donkeys, roosters, and other neighbors.

Chapter 3: At Institución Educativa de Santa Ana

Where I have my first real day of class with my middle schoolers—a couple of weeks after the start of school—and start to get into a routine.

Chapter 4: Hell’s Kitchen (Where the Food is Great, and the Heat is Greater)

Where the heat of Colombia just gets worse and worse and I survive my kitchen, insects, and power outages.

Chapter 5: Cartagena de las Indias

Where I get lost in Colombia’s most beautiful and touristy city and consume my weight in fried street food and fresh juices.

Chapter 6: A Lot of Learning Left to Do

Where I try get into a schedule of teaching, despite my school’s serious lack of following any schedule, and where I try to get to know my students a little bit better (including attempting their learn their names).

Chapter 7: Thanking the Lord for Vacations and Drinkable Coffee

Where Holy Week gives me a well-needed vacation and I get soaked in a rainstorm in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Mountains, sleep in a hammock on the beach at Tayrona National Park, and learn a little about Colombian religion.

Chapter 8: A Walk About Town

Where I wander through the dusty streets of Santa Ana, navigate a local landmark known as The Puddle, drink water out of bags, and watch more than a few passionate games of soccer.

Chapter 9: The Sounds of Colombia

Where I try to decipher the strange accent of coastal speakers, celebrate Colombia’s African heritage, and try to avoid vallenato music.

Chapter 10: In the Amazon

Where I navigate the rainstorms and insects of the Amazon River with a pair of rubber boots, a tiny wooden canoe, and an appreciation (read: fear) of the jungle at night.

Chapter 11: Saints and Sinners

Where I teach outside my regular classes and celebrate Santa Ana’s patron saint festival with good street food, bad music, and watery beer.

Chapter 12: Rainy Days, Sick Days

Where Santa Ana gets flooded, I get sick, and I appreciate that I can buy saltines and passion fruit Gatorade in Santa Ana.

Chapter 13: In Class (and Out of Class)

Where I continue to try and improve school life and brave chaperoning a field trip.

Chapter 14: Surviving the Guajira

Where I travel to the deserts of the Guajira Peninsula in the back of a pickup truck, and fight food poisoning from a delicious meal on a beach.

Chapter 15: Not Yet a Paradise

Where local elections show me the uglier parts of Colombia’s history and that the current state of affairs means Colombia is still struggling with a few debilitating problems.

Chapter 16: Beauty Contests, Independence Day Parades, and Spray Foam

Where I successfully navigate Cartagena’s independence day festivals despite thousands of bottles of spray foam, street extortion, and Santa Ana’s own version of the national beauty contest.

Chapter 17: Life on a Caribbean Island (Did I Mention We Had a Beach?)

Where I enjoy the white sand beach near my town and almost don’t make it down the muddy road to the tip of the island.

Chapter 18: After the Storm Comes the Calm

Where I attend school graduations, try and figure out when my last day of school is, and say goodbye to Colombia.


Where I return to Colombia two years later, exploring the changes that have happened since I left, some new areas of the country, and the changing slogans of the tourism bureau.

Check back soon to buy the book!

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