Both Colombians and foreigners are often surprised when they find out I’ve made Colombia my home. When they find out, their first question always revolves around the “why” I’ve decided to stay.
Today, I’m going to tell you some of the “whys” that explain why I’m still here and why I want to stay at least a while longer by explaining what I would miss, what I would be leaving behind if I left (in no particular order).
I always say it, to everyone–if I ever left Colombia, I would miss the food something terrible.
Nowhere else I’ve been has had such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as that I’ve found here in Colombia. And, not only that but the sheer ability to find fresh, non-frozen, non-sweetened, non-processed fruit and fruit juice on almost every corner and in almost very restaurant in the country blows my mind to this day.
I have to admit that I would also miss arepas–those amazingly delicious little Colombian-style tortillas/thick corn cakes. They come in all sizes and flavours and are the perfect addition to almost any food/meal. I love a good arepa, anytime, anywhere, and know I would miss having them. They are for sure my favourite Colombian comfort food!
Everyday, I am constantly amazed by the beautiful landscapes I have been able to enjoy and have stumbled upon during my travels in Colombia and by the ones I continue to enjoy on a daily basis.
Traveling through Colombia, I have had the amazing opportunity to appreciate an incredible variety of landscapes including cloud forests, rain forests, mountains, valleys, beaches, deserts, and more–each one unique and equally as impressive in form and beauty.
When I lived in Bogotá, I was constantly in awe of the magnificent mountains surrounding me all the time. Now that I love in Barranquilla, I am incessantly grateful to able to take in a spectacular view of coastal wetlands, the Magdalena River, the Caribbean Sea, and the Sierra Nevada mountain range all from my balcony every day.
All of these sights, in a way, have become an integral part of my life here and are something I would miss in more ways than just visually.
The Sounds and Smells
This may sound weird, but I have come to love, in my own unique way, the sounds smells of “my” Colombia.
The smell of plumeria at 5pm as the sun goes down, the smell of freshly baked bread as I walk down the street, the smell of tinto as the street vendors wheel by with their daily stash of coffee to sell for the day, the sound of buses early in the morning, the shouts of the ambulatory sellers passing by shouting “aguacate! bollo! cocadas!” throughout the day, and even the recycling men that pass by with their carts and mules loudly announcing their arrival are all smells and sounds that I probably take for granted too often, but would miss terribly should I lose them. They are part of my Colombia and part of what I would miss should I ever leave.
These are the tip of the iceberg of all the many, many things I would miss about Colombia if I were ever to leave, because heaven knows the list of things I would miss would gone on for quite some length…
Until next time,
Paige M. Poole,
About the author:
“Paige M. Poole is an Alabamian and traveler at heart who has settled, for now, in Barranquilla, Colombia, and earns her living as an English professor at the Instituto de Idiomas (Language Institute) at la Universidad del Norte (University of the North). When not teaching English, she enjoys blogging, traveling, relaxing on the beach, and spending time with her partner and two cats, Milo and Sophie. You can see more of Paige’s traveling experiences in her personal blog http://www.trotamunda.wordpress.com