One year ago this week, on February 3rd, 2018, I packed two large suitcases, one backpack, and a carry-on bag – luggage containing nearly all of my life’s possessions from the past four years.
After teaching and traveling from 2014 to 2018 on the coast of South America, I decided to leave the magical country I’d grown to love and relocate to North America for an undetermined amount of time.
Walking to the airport with the daughter of my closest Colombian-American friend, she reminded me, “This place will always be here. When you’re ready, come back. You’ll be welcomed with a big hug.”
These words, thoughtfully spoken by a beautiful teenager (who was also my student), summarize so much of the Colombian coast for me.
Once my bags were checked, I enjoyed a delicious cup of Juan Valdez coffee, embraced my compañeros working at Rafael Núñez International Airport and boarded a plane from my beloved Colombia to the United States.
Although it wasn’t easy, leaving Colombia was a clear choice with which I continue to carry amazing memories including countless celebrations, learning experiences, and cultural challenges.
A few weeks after arriving in the U.S., I was questioned about my departure from Colombia, including why I left, what was my plan, and didn’t I miss it?
While the first two questions are definitely invasive, to the last I had no trouble saying, of course, I miss it. Anyone who is a lover of life would definitely long for warm, tropical days in the Caribbean sun and the chaos and excitement of living in a foreign country.
I especially miss the people, who are among the happiest in the world, with their impermeable theory that life is meant to be enjoyed, no matter what.
In addition to questions about Colombia, I was also asked why I stopped writing my blog, which covered everything from my exciting travel adventures to my daily life living and working abroad.
I stopped blogging in July of 2017. My final post was not intended to be the last but, amid my teaching, traveling, and writing, I got busy living life to the fullest, and my regularly-scheduled posts unintentionally dropped off.
The blog became a low priority and, despite a hint of regret over letting it go, I still revel in my last post being about a fantastic weekend snorkeling and diving on the coast I love so much.
For blog archives, visit my website La Gringa Costeña
The past 12 months in the U.S. has been an eye-opening lesson in cultural adjustment understanding the differences in the two countries I call home. Following my departure and up to now, I’ve done some incredible things, including:
7 Things I’ve Done Since Leaving Colombia in 2018
- met Lillie Marshall, who interviewed me for her website in 2015
- joined new friends to watch Colombia play in the FIFA World Cup
- drove 2,929 miles across the U.S. from Charleston to Seattle
- visited the historic Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
- returned to Sacramento, CA, where my journey in travel began
- bought a yellow 1981 Vespa, my third vintage Italian scooter
- became the owner of a Honda Element SUV (Super Useful Vehicle)
With things happening at what feels like the speed of light, the real question remains: is this blog worth reviving? The answer is yes, it most definitely is, starting with this post.
While I have a ton of topics to write about, from self-improvement to travel to cooking, for return readers, if there’s anything special that you’d like covered in the months ahead, please leave your ideas in the comments section or contact me directly.
For new readers, ¡bienvenidos! It’s great to have you here and I look forward to providing you with quality content and interesting posts.