by: Kara Crawford
I have this habit of dating my work. Some might call me a workaholic, but I like to think of it as that I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m lucky in that way. Right now, my work is, most simply, living in Colombia. Which makes it really easy for me to date my work. So here is my love letter to my current love – mi querida Colombia.
Mi querida Colombia,
I know we’ve only known each other for five months, pero ya sé que te quiero. From a distance, you may look a little bit dangerous and have a bad reputation, especially in my home country. But that doesn’t lessen my affections for you. I think they’re just jealous about how great you are.
I may simply be a gringa who temporarily finds herself within your borders, and I may not yet have had the opportunity to fully explore tus paisajes diversos, but I know based on the last five months that I am ready for us to strengthen our relationship in the coming year, though sadly I can’t be with you any longer than that.
There’s just so much to love about you, mi querida. At the risk of sounding superficial, I love your figure. I don’t say this about most that I fall for, because I more often focus on personality in my attractions, but there’s just no resisting you. The curves created by your three breathtaking mountain ranges leave me wondering why I was born in such a flat land. Your selva, what most people from my country call “the Amazon,” and its astounding biodiversity leave me amazed at the variety and amount of life you can produce. And with beaches on both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean coast, what’s not to love?
In some ways you’re really hot. I’m talking ridiculously hot, such that I am afraid to leave the house without putting on a gallon of sunscreen every day. In other ways, you’re pretty cool, such that there are nights in Bogota when I would probably freeze to death without my comforter and three blankets. I guess you’re trying to give me some sort of variation to make up for your lack of seasonal change, right? Some things never make up for my missing the snow and change of seasons, but on the whole I find your climate to be pretty chévere, as you love to say; it’s cool, and not in the temperature way.
The people that come as part of your package deal are pretty great, too. Hay mucha diversidad y belleza, though with that diversity and beauty comes also a fair share of discrimination and my borderline-glow-in-the-dark-skin-tone sticking out just a little bit. But even though I disagree with the discrimination, I choose to appreciate that diversity for what it is – beautiful. And I appreciate your rich cultural diversity in the same way, and love traveling to your many departments and finding out more about your different “faces,” so to speak.
The people in your package deal are also simply great people, buena gente, as they often say. I have felt nothing but welcome from the moment I arrived, and know that even though there are a million reasons I could not fit in, you allow me to do so.
So here I am, with five months of our relationship behind us and an exciting year ahead, and I look forward to the possibilities. You may not be perfect, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my time with you. And I’m ready to say it. Colombia, I love you. Colombia, te quiero.
Con todo mi amor,
Kara (but you can call me “face” if you wish)
Kara Johansen Crawford is a graduate of DePaul University, with a BA in International Studies and Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies. Kara has been actively involved in activism and community service for much of her life and is particularly passionate about labor justice, queer issues and engaging faith communities on social issues. Kara is currently serving as a Mission Intern with the United Methodist Church at the Centro Popular para América Latina de Comunicación, based in Bogotá, Colombia. Follow Kara on Twitter @revolUMCionaria and on her blog.