Just Over One Month In…


…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
3. Timeliness
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.

About Little Observationist

Appreciating life's little luxuries.
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3 Responses to Just Over One Month In…

  1. Tim Lowe says:

    I’ve already given you what I know in terms of visa resource information. Have fun at the DAS.😉

    I didn’t tell you about the time I overstayed my tourist visa. (Who looks at all those stamps in your passport anyway? I’m used to entry permission for 6 months in Europe.) It was a bit of a nightmare. Kafkaesque in fact. I was told by the airline that I might as well not catch my flight to Bogotá as I would not be allowed to make my connecting flight until my visa transgression was resolved. And thus started an almost two week Odyssey of trips to various DAS offices (which I will spare you here) until finally finding a nice lady at the DAS office in the Bogotá airport (I should have just taken my flight in the first place!) who said essentially, “Oh. Naughty you. The fine is {about $60}. Go get me a copy of your flight out and I’ll give you a letter of transit.”

    Cue Casa Blanca theme music

    So, for us, the tourism commercials should have said…

    The only risk is, we won’t let you leave.

  2. Vanessa says:

    Being happy is the most important thing!

  3. platosearwax says:

    This is a pretty fantastic blog post, Steph. It is awesome to find something in another place, another culture, that makes you really feel what life is about. So glad you are happy!

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