…and I’m scrambling for some reliable visa information (links in the comments appreciated!).
As they say about Colombia, “The only risk…”
Yes, I do want to stay.
There couldn’t be a place in the world more opposite from London. The chaos of the city has been replaced with sleepy donkeys, old men staring into space on door stoops. Order substituted for exploding metchas in friendly games of tejo on Sunday nights.
Sense of time is non-existent here. In London, I always knew within half hour or so which way the hands on the clock were pointing. Sometimes in Colombia, I have to ask which day of the week it is.
In London there’s a constant pressure to live a certain life, rise to expectations, to manoeuvre your way to the top, a constant push-and-shove, stress ball existence. In Colombia, people do what they have to do to survive and look out for their families.
There’s room to move, to grow and expand but you don’t feel like your insides are going to pop out your ears every time you stop for a second to breathe.
I never really understood what Wilfredo meant when he used to tell me in London, “This isn’t life.” Now I understand. London is amazing in plenty of ways – one of the greatest cities in the world, no doubt, but it’s not life.
Sure, if I figure out a way to stay (in Mogotes) past the possible 180 days of tourist visa extensions with a different sort of visa, I will miss certain things (other than people):
1. The ease of finding English books and magazines
2. A variety of food from all parts of the world
4. Change of seasons
5. Independence (In Colombia, we don’t have our own place yet and there is a language barrier I need to break through in order to be able to do everything on my own.)
6. Lots of shopping
7. Speaking English
8. The ease of finding cooking and baking ingredients
9. Everything is a lot cleaner and more sanitary back home
10. Taking for granted that there will be toilet paper and toilet seats in public bathrooms
But if I don’t stay, I will be missing out on a lot too:
1. Driving through beautiful mountain scenery on a motorcycle
2. Hot, steaming arepas and a constant offer of hot chocolate
3. People stop to make time for one another no matter what they’re doing
4. The sense of an honest, hands-on, hard-working yet simple life
5. Photo opportunities with all the exotic birds, plants, butterflies and scenery
6. All the newly discovered tropical fruit I can eat here
7. An open courtyard in the middle of the house where the rain comes in and millions of stars shine at night
8. Walking down the street next to donkeys, mules, and horses and smiling friendly people
9. Endless new places to explore and experiences to have
10. The chance to build a home I can call my own and start a life with a bit more purpose
Sure, it’s not perfect. Nothing ever is. It will take a lot of work and patience to build the life I can picture, but I know one thing is true. I’m happy here. If anything counts toward a major life decision, that should.