The one thing people always want to know is why I decided to come to Colombia. For me, that’s actually a complicated question, and not an easy one to answer. In general, I throw out a practiced response – to immerse myself in a Latin American culture, to give back, etc. etc. – and keep it moving. Because in reality, there are many answers to this seemingly simple question. I’m going to try to break it all down, right here (in list form, of course! Y’all know how I love lists! Haha.) Here we go, why I came to Colombia:
- To improve my Spanish
- To fully experience a Latino culture similar to my own
- To escape winter (hey, I’m being honest, right?!)
- To do something meaningful while trying to figure out what the next step in my life should be
- To see a new continent (I’m obsessed with seeing the world, as many of you know)
- To fulfill a life-long dream of volunteering in a developing country
- To do something new and different
- To have an adventure
- Because I’m afraid of looking back on my life and having regrets
- Because I’m young, and you only live once!
Ok, I realize 9 and 10 are pretty much synonymous, but I can’t overstate the importance of that factor. I remember talking to my dad about the various opportunities I was looking into to go abroad, and he said something like “What’s the rush? You have so much time.” And I just looked at him and said, “Dad, the time is now.”And it’s true. People don’t do things like this later in life. I’m in my 20s, I haven’t started my career, I have no major responsibilities of the sort that would keep a 30-something from picking up and moving to South America for a year. The time is now.
Despite the challenges of being far from home and working in a school where nothing seems to work the way I think it should, I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. I know that I’m going to look back on this time as one of the greatest adventures of my life. My favorite new Spanish word is aprovechar, which means to take advantage. That word represents my current attitude about living in Colombia: I want to “aprovechar” every opportunity that comes my way.