I find myself lately taking a really long time to process life choices, changes, and their impacts. We moved back to the "Land of the free and the home of the brave" six months early - a country brimming with opportunity for those who have the gusto to pull up their bootstraps. Why?
We were supposed to come back for a short holiday but visiting family and friends made us realise everything that we were missing. Football with the Safety Harbor Football Club, the beach, lunch with co-workers, Sunday roasts with family, our own cars...the list goes on. We had really taken for granted what we had grown accustomed to. And what of our life in Colombia? We have no regrets. Moving to another place really helps put things into perspective. For one, we Marie Kondo'ed our home before she became a hit on Netflix. Everything that we did not use was sold, donated, or dumped. And our belongings we did keep - we stored in a 10x10ft space. You feel lighter when you're not weighed down by objects you think might be useful one day. The move made me really think of our consumption trends and their impact on the globe.
What do I miss about Colombia and what about our lifestyle there can we hope to apply here? For a "developing" nation - I think Colombia has their priorities straight when it comes to labour. They are #4 in the world for the countries with the most days off, probably because family and community are just that important. Here in the US, it's hard-work to keep a healthy balance but we are adamant about working to live and not the other way around.
I also miss the access to fresh fruit and fresh air. Medellin is considered the city of eternal spring. Santa Elena, the area we were living, is a key player in the flower industry for generations. Fun fact - Colombia exported 560 million dollars worth of cut flowers to the US in 2018 according to FAS-USDA. We now live in an apartment complex which although nice enough does not have much green space at all. We can visit the Oldsmar Organic Community Garden on Saturdays while we wait until we move back to our house to plant our own seeds. Good thing the Florida senate has given us the green light to have green thumbs in our own backyard.
I miss the people who made an impact on our lives. I miss our puppy Lola who we had to leave behind. I miss the buzzing energy about Medellin, a city burgeoning with possibilities and cultural change. Although Carlos was back and forth with work, it was fun for me to feel as though I was part of a growing trend of "digital nomads", living a non-traditional lifestyle in our 'tiny-home' cabin in the woods.
So we came back but with no regrets - only a high recommendation for anyone who likes to travel. When we visited the city zoo there was a sign. Translated it read:
"If you want to get to know the Pacific Ocean - Go to Chile.
If you want to get to know the Atlantic Ocean - Go to Jamaica.
If you want to get to know the American Andes - Go to Bolivia.
If you want to get to know the Orinoco Plains - Go to Venezuela.
If you want to get to know the Amazon Jungle - Go to Brazil.
If you want to get to know Pre-colombian culture - Go to Mexico.
But, if you want to get to know all of them - Come to Colombia."
Our short journey living in Medellin came to an abrupt end and we're back to the grindstone - working on making ends meet 'sin sal' without that little bit of seasoning and excitement that was Medellin.