I never in a million years thought I would end up living overseas, let alone in Colombia.
Despite having lived in Argentina and Honduras, and studied abroad in Spain, after each time living on foreign soil I promised myself to never do it again--my homesickness was too much to handle. And lord did I miss Texmex...Amazon....efficiency.
Yet here I am, 2 years and 9 months into living abroad (again) and I am so madly in love with my life and my home. Colombia is a magical, crazy place that pulls me in like a magnet.
Being an expat is an interesting experience, especially as an American in Colombia (mostly everyone loves the US...more specifically, anything made in the US).
Everyone thinks I am either crazy, a hippy backpacker-type or in a quarter-life crisis. It's none of the above. Not even close. I just happen to love living in a place that challenges me. I love the big city, the vibrant energy, the feeling that this place is on the verge of something really big.
So let's get to the fun stuff, like the questions I'm often asked:
- Speaking Spanish Yes, I speak Spanish. I made the brazen decision to do a 6-month exchange to Argentina when I was in high school. In a matter of months I learned how to speak fluent Spanish. (First) best decision of my life. If you have any children in your life that need convincing to do something similar, send them my way!
- Safety I feel very safe, but I also don't live and act here as I would at home. For example, I don't/can't walk down the street while talking on the phone or sporting diamond earrings. It's basically like putting a huge target on my back that says "rob me, por favor". But otherwise, I live life normally and don't feel threatened or scared.
- Things Life here is really similar to life at home, just less consumer-driven. You can't get anything and everything like you can in the US, but you quickly forget the things that you used to feel like you "needed". You have to go places for things instead of ordering them online (e-commerce is about 10 years behind the US).
- Coffee The coffee sucks unless you go to the right place--that's because most the coffee for sale here isn't even Colombian! (It's the cheap stuff from Brazil). Colombia produces excellent coffee, but ships it straight to the US or Europe, bypassing local consumers for the most part. Not until recently did great local roasters pop up and start to serve Colombians the good stuff. Like these guys.
- Convenience Ordering from Amazon, J Crew, Zappos, etc. just doesn't happen--the import taxes and shipping are too expensive to make it worthwhile. And there's nothing remotely similar to Target or Whole Foods. On the sunnier side of things, Starbucks is finally opening here!! Queue the happy dance.
- Which leads me to food. In short, I love the food here, especially now that I am in Bogotá. The traditional Colombian food is very meat and carbs heavy: think yuca, potatoes, plantains, arepas. Not a lot of spice (just because Mexican food is spicy doesn't mean it is spicy all over South America). My favorite local dishes are Ajiaco and Frijoles. And the fruits!! Oh the fruit here is awesome blossom. There are fresh fruit stands on almost every corner, where you can get fresh-squeezed OJ for about a dollar.
- Future Plans This is a juicy one. How long do you plan to stay there?? Well. For the first time in a long time I feel like I've found a place I love to call home. My life is here. I really like the idea of raising little babes here in Bogotá and sending them off to summer camp in Texas. And I have Azulina... there is no way I would be able to know so much about the production and creation of our pottery if I weren't here, visiting the workshop as much as I do. I love to be really involved. So the short answer--I'm definitely sticking around for a while and it feels good to be able to say it.
If you want to learn more peculiarities about my everyday life here in the BOG, don't hesitate to write me. I love hearing from you!
Wishing you a wonderful day.
Con Mucho Amor,