Bogota · Candelaria · Chapinero · Colombia · La Arepera · Plaza Bolivar · South America · Teaching English · Travel

On Leaving Colombia

So the time came when I had to leave my new country.  This was very hard for me as I had had one of the best years of my life.

I came back from the rain forest, then went to Nicaragua for a few days to celebrate my big birthday with friends and family and came back to Bogota to spend a week sorting things out and preparing to leave for perhaps good.

My friend was waiting for me in my flat with my cat.  It was so nice of her to spend my last week with me.

I was tired after my recent travel and just wanted to stay in bed.  Plus, I was trying to subconsciously delay the inevitable leaving of the city and country I had adopted for the last year.  If I stayed in bed, it wouldn’t happen!  I dragged myself out of bed to start packing and see what I could fit in my suitcases to go back to the US, and figure out what I was leaving behind.

It was hard in that I didn’t know if I would be able to return again.  I hoped to return, but was waiting to hear on the course I had applied for and to see what was happening with Heart for Change, the organization I had come to Colombia with.  They were unsure of their future within Colombia.  I knew some people who had signed up for another year with them, but they had told us that they didn’t know what 2018 would hold for them, so I didn’t pursue that route.

I went through some things and had bags to stay with a friend here in Bogota in case I came back – he will watch them for me and if I don’t come back, he will keep them or sell them.  I gave some things to my friend who lives in Cali and she will use them while I am gone and keep or sell them if I don’t come back.  She is hoping to stay in Colombia as well.  There are so many of us in the position of wanting to stay and looking for work in the country.  I have a bag to leave outside for the homeless to pick up if they want to – this is a common way of recycling.  There are so many homeless in my neighborhood and they come by frequently and go through the trash and collect what they can use and recycle.  Nothing is wasted.  I love this aspect of life here as well.

The day was busy sorting through things.  We then went to walk around Carrera Septima and Plaza Bolivar, one of the last times I’ll be able to.  My friend lives in Cali and has only visited me one other time in Bogota, so I was eager to show her my amazing city.  I still love this city and never tire of walking around.  It is gorgeous and interesting and the people change the streets daily.  I had some gifts that I wanted to get for people and some items I wanted to get for myself. 

I had applied to a CELTA course in Bogota starting the 9th of January and I had not heard back from them yet.  I was hoping to get things settled and to stay in the same Airbnb and keep items there with the owner.  But there was no real communication from them.  I am still learning to be ‘tranquila’ about things and realize that what will work out will work out, but it is so so hard!!

I went by the headquarters of International House to see what I could find out face to face, but they had no further information for me.  I sent another email and they asked for my application again – so I sent that – and just had to assume that I wouldn’t get into the program and be okay that what will be will be and I can relax into that.

I continued packing, sorting and last minute shopping.

I was still dreading leaving.

We cleaned up the apartment and got the cat sorted with the vet and the animal control office at the airport and I dragged my feet and pouted.

I wanted to stay in bed and avoid the inevitable.

We forced ourselves to go out for the start of Christmas activities on the 16th of December in the evening, ‘Travesia of Sound and Light’, after walking up to my old neighborhood in Chapinero to get our last Venezuelan arepas for maybe forever.  It was nostalgic.  And delicious!!


The evening celebrations were awesome – but very very different than the celebrations we have in the US.  They had videos of the nature here in Colombia – a celebration of the diversity of flora and fauna that is found nowhere else – it is truly what makes this country so very special.  It reminds me of how lucky I am to have had this opportunity.

I gave a lot of things to my friend and she left on the night train back to Cali.I gave the bags to my friend in Bogota – he left.  I was now ready to leave – ready or not.I was left with two suitcases, a cat carrier, a nervous cat, a backpack and me.

I was surprised that at this point, I started to think of my time with my family and friends and felt a little uplift and even excitement of the time to come.

All was no longer bleak – I would see my kids and family soon and there were a lot of plans that we had – things to do – Christmas in the US – it would work out – I went to sleep with mixed feelings – ready to see what the future held.