Moving to Colombia was never part of my plan. But here I am living in Bogotá and this experience has helped me embrace other changes in life.
I burst into tears at my mother’s dinner table on one of my last nights in the United States. I tried to use my phone as a distraction by frantically scrolling through tweets and Facebook posts, but my eyes welled up and I began to sob. My mother ushered me into her bedroom and tried to console me.
The waterworks weren’t simply because I was leaving my family, friends, job and country to move to South America alone, although those are pretty good reasons to shed a few tears. I mostly cried because I was changing directions. I was forging a new path that I hadn’t planned to take and I felt utterly and hopelessly lost.
My mother touched my tear-stained cheeks and murmured that I could always come back home if things didn’t work out in South America. I cried harder, because that generous lifeline seemed a lot like failure.
Despite my fear and self-doubt, I boarded the plane anyway. I am so damn happy I boarded that plane.
It’s been less than two months since I’ve been living in Bogotá. In that time, I found a job as a marketing writer for an international company. I received my Colombian work visa, which allows me to stay in the country for two years. I began freelance writing for a Colombian travel website. I have also made a few friends, started seeing a wonderful Colombian guy, found a soccer team to play with and joined a gym.
I don’t intend to sound like that revolting person at your high school reunion trying to convince everyone of how great her life is. What I am trying convey is how useless it was to worry about my future. I almost let fear immobilize me into missing this exciting new life. Some days I wake up and think I almost missed this, I almost didn’t board the plane.
I recognize that things are going really well right now, but that might not be the case. I also don’t feel as chipper about this new experience when my stomach feels like it’s exploding from food poisoning or I’m smashed up against the glass doors of the infamously crowded public buses here in Bogotá. It can’t all be wonderful 100 percent of the time.
For all I know, this could all end as quickly as it started. Whatever happens though, I truly think this experience has made me more resilient and accepting of change, even when it’s not part of the original plan.