My Expat Journey Back to U.S. from Medellin

by | Feb 22, 2022 | Colombia | 1 comment

It’s been six months since I returned to the U.S. to visit my new granddaughter and family after spending two years in Medellin,  Colombia.  I must say, it’s quite a difference.  I didn’t realize how much I would miss being in my little apartment in the pueblo of Sabaneta and Laureles.

Laureles in Medellin - photo by Gail Turner Brown
Laureles in Medellin – photo by Gail Turner Brown

Don’t get me wrong. I love my little munchkin, my sons and my daughter-in-law, but I had forgotten how much I love the city of Eternal Spring.  In the U.S. I live in Maryland, therefore this summer it was hot and humid. Keeping no-frizz hair was a no-win proposition.

And now it’s January where the temperature was a warm 27 degrees after feeling like 9 not to mention we’ve had 2 snow storms just in the past 3 weeks!

Last year I was walking in the park in Sabaneta, having lunch outside in my shorts and sleeveless top. Or sitting on my balcony basking in the sun at a comfortable 78 degrees.

Then there was Christmas. In the states, there is the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington, D.C. which is always nice. But in Medellin, they do it like no other.  Colombians celebrate Christmas from December 1 – January 6th.

They celebrate what’s called Alumbrados – Festival of Lights.  Every park in every barrio has a lighting display that would make Disney feel small. There are food vendors galore,  entertainers, music swimming in the air and activities for kids. Everyone from 2 to 92 has something to enjoy.

Alumbrado in Colombia - Photo by Gail Turner Brown
Alumbrado in Colombia – Photo by Gail Turner Brown

The thing about Colombia is there’s always something to celebrate or a festival taking place. Salsa, reggaeton or bachata music playing throughout the stores, bars, cafes fills the air and makes you feel like dancing no matter where you are.

In fact one day I went to the mall and at the entrance, they were holding a salsa concert with everyone dancing. It was so much fun to just watch all ages with their dance partners swinging to the rhythm and the beats.

And finally, I had a major sticker shock when it came to the cost of living in the U.S.  I had gotten accustomed to taking an Uber for $2, eating a three-course lunch for $4 and paying $500 a month rent for my 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment in a gated community with 24-hr concierge service.

Or the time I went to the doctor and it cost $40 for an office visit, with no insurance and a full check-up or went to the movies to see Black Widow opening for $3.

It was absolutely amazing!  Not to mention the ability to go to the beach and visit the mountains in one day. You can hike and paraglide while taking an Amazon jungle trek. Colombia has a wealth of activities and places to just enjoy nature at your disposal at an affordable price.

People are now flocking to Medellin and exploring the rest of Colombia to take advantage of this modern, technological, diverse cosmopolitan city.   Can’t wait to get back there.

Ready?  Go!

Gail Turner Brown