“You’re moving to Colombia? Like, cocaine Colombia?”
I shudder inside and my eyes roll back when I hear this type of response. Colombia has so much to offer, so many things to be known for, and yet is unfortunately still an infamous place in the minds of most Americans. I can’t say that Netflix is doing anything to help this reputation either!
On a recent tour of the city, I learned the drastic change that Colombia has seen in tourism. In the year 2000, around 50,000 visitors came here. In contrast, the year 2017 received somewhere above 5 million tourists! People are coming to see Colombia, and hopefully to get to know it on a different level.
When I moved here, I had the chance to let go of these false assumptions and open my mind to the beauty of this country. I’ve gotten to tour its coffee farms and taste the rich and sweet brews. I’ve been lucky to spend days on its beaches, both Pacific and Caribbean. I’ve climbed to the top of 2 glaciers, overlooking its incredible mountains. I’ve met its people: paisas, costeñas, and rolos. I’ve had every style of arepa, danced to Shakira and Carlos Vives more times than I can remember, and posed next to at least 5 Botero statues.
More importantly, I’ve welcomed and introduced my entire immediate family and over 10 friends to Colombia. My goal is to show them these aspects they may not see on tv or hear about from others. But to me, they show off the heart and soul of Colombia, my home.