Moving to Colombia

Moving to Colombia, I knew I would encounter a different culture and would need to become proficient in a new language. There would no doubt be many changes in my life, and many things to learn. The biggest lessons learned however, have been about myself. 

Relocating to another country can be overwhelming at first. You transplant yourself from an environment where everything is familiar, to one where nothing is. There is so much to absorb, and emotions run the gamut from excitement to frustration. 

I never imagined how I would feel in such a different setting and it didn't take long to find out.

Patience Truly Is a Virtue

Along with my suitcases, came a Type-A “get-it-done-yesterday” mindset. Very quickly I discovered the pace of life in Latin America is altogether different.

Bureaucracy sometimes feels like an endurance sport. After waiting forever for your turn at a government office, no matter the documents you provide, the process always seems to require “one more thing”.

In the beginning, this can drive you crazy, but as you settle into the rhythm of the new culture, you discover patience is a virtue.

Smiles Are the Universal Language

At first, the lack of fluency in the language of your newly adopted country can create awkward situations, however, no matter where you are, a smile is the language everyone understands. 

Your Country of Origin Looks Different from Afar

Living abroad has changed my perception. On one hand, I feel a greater appreciation for my home nation’s prosperity and efficiency. But after observing and experiencing life here, I have begun to question the relentless pursuit of accumulation, consumption, wealth, and upward mobility where I came from.

People Are People

It is far too easy to pigeonhole people - and entire nationalities - based on limited stereotypical information. Such biases can even exist within different regions of the same country. One of the greatest blessings is experiencing the basic goodness of people, no matter where they live. Throughout my travels, locals have consistently been kind, compassionate, and helpful. 

The Bottom Line

Did I need to leave my home country to improve on humility, patience, and kindness? Technically, no, but it is all too easy to get caught-up in the frenetic energy of a fast-paced society which offers little reward for quiet contemplation.