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There are lots of things we could all complain about, and on various occasions this blog has touched on many of them. For sure it can be good to vent every now and again, but you have to find the balance between highlighting malpractices and letting them personally affect you, especially when they don’t have to. There are some things we can change, or at least try to, there are others we cannot.

Rainbow Bogotá, Colombia.

Magical Bogotá: Just where is the pot of gold for us to enjoy? (Photo: Pieter Hupkes.)

Yet, for all those things that frustrate and even downright anger many, the expatriates who stay in Colombia – and Bogotá specifically – aren’t generally doing so out of stubbornness or against their will. No, they’re here, or we’re here to include myself in that, because we want to be here, more or less.

Every now and again, naturally enough, that stance is brought into question: ‘Why am I here?’ (Bearing in mind that just over six years ago I knew next to nothing about the place; that’s still the case in some ways.)

Somewhat paradoxically, that came into my mind whilst going through the process of renewing my visa. Buying myself more time in the country; outwardly endorsing the place in effect.

A Colombian friend helped in putting those seeds of doubt into my mind. “I find it bemusing” she said, “when I see westerners making an effort and spending a relatively large amount of money in a bid to stay longer in Colombia.”

A case of ‘the grass is always greener’ you could say. For many Colombians, almost anywhere (in the West) is better than here when it comes to enjoying a higher standard of living.

On the flip side, those of us who come here, to mention just one reason anyway, are attracted by the sense of adventure in trying to make it in a ‘developing’ country.

And maybe that’s the best reason I can give as to why I’m still here. It has been a place to try new things while pretty much being my own boss. It is not a life on easy street, taking the lazy option and wasting away one’s life as some seem to think.

Arrepentidos, National Geographic.

Wrong Way: If all else fails, there’s always a life as a cop awaiting …

Nor do many come to this country to get rich quick (if they do, it’s generally down to hard work and/or being in the right place at the right time). There are better options in the world in that regard. But personally, on the balance of things, it has been fun, a big learning curve and, I like to think, beneficial, too.

Heck, at times it has even felt like living in a fantasy land, a dreamworld, doing things that perhaps in more ‘developed’ countries I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do, or at least not the same scope.

Each time it seems like endgame has been reached, another ‘card’ comes along to keep me playing at the Colombian table, so to put it.

Be that as it may, it still feels unlikely that this part of the world will be my home indefinitely. That might be due to the fact that the ‘traditional’, ‘settled’ life of buying a house, finding a long-term partner, having children and working in a ‘proper’ job floats around in my thoughts – you know, do what ‘normal’ people do.

In that regard, I don’t envisage Bogotá, this place where life sometimes seems a little surreal, offering that kind of existence – the long-term partner and having children elements are certainly in the realms of fantasy at this remove anyway.

Then again, maybe this Colombian ‘dreamland’ is the real deal. Am I living the dream, yet blissfully unaware of it? If so, let’s hope that it doesn’t turn into a case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.’
Facebook: Wrong Way Corrigan – The Blog & IQuiz “The Bogotá Pub Quiz”.

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La vida en Colombia desde la perspectiva de un periodista y locutor irlandés, quien ha vivido en el país desde 2011. El blog explora temas sociales y culturales, interacción con los nativos, viajes, actualidades y mucho más. Escucha su podcast acá: https://anchor.fm/brendan-corrigan.

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  1. You definitely are one of those lucky foreigners living in a country where everyone is really friendly, where you know who your neighbors are, where you can go to someone house unannounced and not get a disappointment lock, where you get together with friends almost every weekend and have a great time, where there are pretty women everywhere you go, so enjoy where you live and your time, when ever you move from there you are going to miss every single thing that you are living right now
    Cheers !

    • beforechrist

      Well I wouldn’t exactly say I know who my neighbours are and not everyone is really friendly! And to be honest, knowing your neighbours and friendly people are what Ireland is renowned for, too!
      Colombia wins on the pretty women for sure; but that comes at a price with many of them in terms of instability and jealousy (don’t get me started on that one!).
      I guess one of the big plus points after almost four years here is what I mention in the article above: that sense of adventure is still somewhat with me and in many ways that’s linked to the chaotic nature of the place! Also, being pretty much my own boss helps as well and the opportunities to try new things without having to risk too much, relatively speaking. That’s why I’m still here I suppose!

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