10 Reasons I Miss Living in Colombia

Landscapes

In about five weeks, I’ll venture back to China for what will be my sixth year abroad, and my fourth country to call home. I never planned to be gone this long, but now I have no plans of returning. It’s funny how things work out.

I like my home in Shanghai, and don’t often feel homesick, but from time to time, I’ll find myself missing the States. Or Korea. Or Colombia. Home has become something of a relative concept, so it’s hard to actually be “home-sick.”

Lately though, I have been thinking a lot about my two years in Bogota, and the wonderful memories associated with Colombia. So I made a list. Here are the top 10 things I miss most about this former “home” of mine:

1. The Scenery 

Finca

Colombia might possibly be the most beautiful country I’ve visited. From the Andean mountains, to the Tatacoa desert, to the Caribbean and Pacific beaches, to the Amazon jungle, I miss it all. And man is it beautiful.

2. The Fruit Juices 

Colombia Fruit Juice

Sure, you can get fresh squeezed juice pretty much anywhere in the world, but I guarantee it’s nothing like what you can get in Colombia. And if it is, you’re paying about 5x more for it. Whether it’s fruits you’ve heard of, like mango, passion fruit, or papaya, or more exotic choices like lulo, guanábana, or feijoa, you’re in for a treat.

3. Arepas

arepas

I’m not gonna lie, when I first moved to Colombia, I wasn’t so impressed by these highly-praised corn cakes. But something happened over those two years and I became addicted. Topped with eggs, ham and cheese, stuffed with doble crema, or stuffed with an egg, then deep-fried, these things are legit.

4. Tejo

tejo_colombia

Don’t know what tejo is? Well, it’s the country’s national sport, and it pretty much consists of throwing stones at dynamite disks, while drinking large amounts of beer. It doesn’t get much better than that.

5. Puentes

puentes

For my Spanish-speaking audience, I’m not talking about my love of bridges. I’m referring to the many long weekends created by moving national holidays to Mondays, in order to create numerous 3-day weekends throughout the year. This allowed me to explore the country and visit many of my friends’ nearby fincas (country houses).

6. Salsa Dancing 

Salsa Dancing

Whether it’s in the salsa capital of Cali,  at a local restaurant, or even at a karaoke bar, Colombians are pretty much always down to dance. And while it’s possible to go to a salsa bar in Shanghai, there’s something about those Colombian men and their hips. Let’s  just say it’s not the same.

7. Fútbolcolombia_futbol

I was actually living in Bogotá  during the World Cup games, and I feel very fortunate to have had that experience. Whether I was watching the games in cigarrerías, viewing a big screen at one of the parks, or celebrating in the streets with shaving cream and confetti, I was really able to understand the passion and developed a whole new appreciation for the sport.

8. Menú del día ( Or “ejecutivo”)

rsz_menu_ejecutivo_

Image courtesy of Salsamentaria.

Ok, another food item to talk about. And it’s a good one: the famous “menú del día,” or “menu of the day.” Colombians typically eat their largest meal at lunch time, so this offering is served between the hours of 11-ish to 3-ish. It’s available at pretty much every restaurant, and includes fruit juice, soup, a little salad, a choice of protein (chicken, beef or fish), rice, and often times a dessert. Oh, and it’s usually around $5.

9. The People

colombian_people

Image courtesy of my friend and travel partner, Zak Mann.

After reading the reasons above, it should be no surprise that the people are what truly make this country special. From my Costeña roommate who reminded me of Sofia Vagara, to my soccer-obsessed coworkers, and the old ladies who made caldo around the corner of my apartment, I miss them all. And look forward to the day when I can see them again.

10. Speaking Spanish

This may come as a shock for anyone who knew me during my time in Colombia, and especially to my fellow classmates in my Spanish class. But, the truth is, I miss the language. I miss hearing it. I miss speaking it. I even miss making a fool of myself on a daily basis. And for those of you who have studied Spanish and traveled in a variety of Spanish-speaking countries, you will truly appreciate the video below.

Have you been to Colombia? What’s one thing you miss? 

25 thoughts on “10 Reasons I Miss Living in Colombia”

  1. I spent two months traveling in Colombia last year and I completely fell in love with that country. Had I not moved to Jakarta, I was seriously considering moving to Bogota…that’s how much I loved it. I was in Bogota during the World Cup games too, well for the first one. I had such a blast watching the games in Bogota, Medellin and Cartagena during my trip. It was the best! And don’t even get me started on the arepas…I miss those dearly. I really do have a feeling that I’ll end up moving to Colombia one day. Perhaps after my two years in Cambodia are up 🙂

    1. That is great, Justine! I also loved my time in Colombia. However, if I moved back, I think I would have to live in Medellin as opposed to Bogota. I got really sick of the weather! Hope you’re enjoying Cambodia. Another country I absolutely love! 🙂

  2. oh wow you and Nando REALLY makes me want to go!!!!! Can we do a shanghai bloggers trip =)

    How much Spanish do you need in Columbia?

    1. Yes! Let’s plan a field trip, Line! haha. You should definitely go. To be honest, most people don’t speak English, unless you’re in a really touristic town, like Cartagena. So I would definitely go knowing some basic phrases and numbers 🙂 xo

  3. Great article. I planned to pop over the border from Ecuador and visit Colombia for just 10 days. I stayed 6 months!
    I miss everything about Colombia, except the arepas.
    I know that I will return one day

    1. Thanks, Jane! You are so funny. I NEVER thought I’d miss arepas, but I even miss those now! 😉

  4. I have never been to South America, but the things you mention in this post don’t make it hard to understand why you’re missing Colombia! I can only imagine just how amazing the fruit must be and I would love to see the countryside there one day! 🙂

    1. Thanks for reading, Melanie! I definitely recommend adding Colombia to your bucket list, especially while it’s relatively free of tourists 🙂

    1. Right, Gabby?! What’s not to love? Definitely add it, and go soon, while tourism is relatively low 🙂 xo

  5. I loved this so much! I’m heading to Colombia in October so any inspiration and positive vibes I can get about the country is much appreciated! I lived in Argentina for a while, but I keep hearing that the people of Colombia are much much friendlier (thank goodness)! I’m super excited to explore the country.

    1. Rachel, you will LOVE Colombia. The people are amazing, and SO friendly. Plus, it’s cheaper than Argentina 😉 Enjoy!

  6. This is an amazing list post! I’ve heard that the people in Colombia are the friendliest, nicest people on the planet. Colombia has been a dream of mine for a while now. Last time I visited South America, I only made it to Argentina and Uruguay! Next time will DEFINITELY be Colombia. Thanks for sharing!
    http://www.travelalphas.com

    1. Maddy, you MUST plan a trip to Colombia. It was by far my favorite country in South America, and the people are wonderful! Thanks for reading 🙂

  7. Hola! Soy Colombiana y casi lloro de la emoción de leer este post, muchas veces nosotros los colombianos no apreciamos las riquezas de nuestro país y ustedes los extranjeros son los que no recuerdan lo maravilloso que es, Muchas Gracias por expresarte bien de mi país y se que aunque tenemos muchos problemas , hacemos todos los días lo mejor que podemos con lo que tenemos! Gracias!

  8. Hi Jennifer. Firstable, let me thank you for your blog. It is ice to hear from you) and other people to talk good about my country. I could not resist to write something and put some things I think about the land where I was born. I have lived in another country (London-England) for about 5 years long time ago and visited other countries in Europe but Colombia havs something special. Europe is beautiful which I like a lot but my country has all in one. I know We still have many things to sort out in this country and need to improve the tourist industry but despite that We have many things to show the world and to tell other people who are not from here that living im Colombia is not boring or as dnagerouse as the media has shown us. For someone who is thinking to travel to Latin America and do not want to travel to many countries or do not have enough money I think Colombia could be that place .It is like having all the resume of Latin-America in one, I mean if you want to choose a country and to know the Latin- American culture We have a little piece of each region or country here, as well .We have a bit of Europe and Africa too. Let´s just give some exmaples: If you want to feel like in Jamaica or any West indies islands just go to San Andres and Prividence where not only the beaches look the same but, they even speak english and have their own dialect (papiamento) like many Islansin the Caribbean. But If you are looking for adventure in the jungle of the Amazon, Colombia share this magical place unique in the world with Brazil or Peru. If you want to discover how people live in the Andes region and learn about the costums, traditions and handcrafts made with alpaca wool like you find in Ecuador, Bolivia and even Chile so you will feel close toi those countries when you get to Nariño, and Cauca in the South-Easte of Colombia. But if like Tango like the Argentinians, Medellin is the place, You can find many dance schools where to learn how to dance that sexy dance, Medellin is the place where the most famouse Tango singer was born in Uruguay but nazionalized in Argentina died so you can go and visit a museum and some other places in honour to him and you would feel in a place somewhere in Argentina. Festival Internacional of Tango is one of the most known events in Medellin and for the Tanglo fans The World Championship contest is run there too.
    If you want to feel near Mexico i can say Mexico and Colombia have a lot of in common. Colombians loves riding horses,, ranchera (most popular mexican music) , drinking rum, tequila, etc. Some towns and cities in Colombia are similar to the one in Mexico,
    if you like the Salsa and the taste of other hot latin rythims and live a relaxing life where the slong is ¨take it easy¨, walking a long old cities some of them made by the spanish but with modern new areas and making friends every place yo go so Cartagena, Santa marta and Barranquilla are the places. Colombia also have a big African influence, We are the country where some towns still remain in the past and the population of them still keep the rhythm, traditions, food, etc are intact As well We are a country where you can find all kind of races, from black to white, indigeneous and all of them mix together. It is difficukt foir me to recongnize a Colombian when I have been abroad, for the way they look, because some of them could look asian (like my mum), orientals (like me) caucasian (like my niece), black (like my cousin), south europena (like my aunties and most of my family).
    I am sorry for write to much, I njust want you to know why I love this country and maybe you will an idea of it. Hugs to everyone one and a big one for you Jennifer.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and your passion, Olger. I spent two years in Colombia and consider it one of my “homes.” I have a deep love and appreciation for the country, the culture, the people and the food. Gracias por tus palabras y un gran abrazo!!

  9. I just want to say sorry to Jennifer for my grammar and spelling mistakes I made in my comment. I hope you guys have caught the idea about what I said.

  10. Gracias por mostrar lo bueno de mi pais. Colombia tiene algo unico que no se sabe muchas como como describirlo. Su gente, su naturaleza, sus culturas, su gastronomia, las diferentes razas de personas, etc, hacen de ella algo especial. Es como si fuera un pais con pequeños paises dentro. Te felicito por tu blog, muy buen trabajo.Un abrazo desde Barranquilla-Colombia.

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