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Old 05-10-2019, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
974 posts, read 1,962,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
Good riddance. No place is perfect.
No, of course not. I assume there´s a reason why your family settled in the UK, right? It´s a common, knee-jerk reaction to tell people to leave a place, but it often comes down to necessity and need not be taken personally.
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Old 05-10-2019, 12:50 PM
 
Location: London, UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post
No, of course not. I assume there´s a reason why your family settled in the UK, right? It´s a common, knee-jerk reaction to tell people to leave a place, but it often comes down to necessity and need not be taken personally.
For your information my family did not settle in the UK out of need, they were invited. Just as many people were invited (mainly from Commonwealth countries but for some reason there was an agent in Armenia) to the UK in the 70's when more people were emigrating from the country than immigrating into it.

My mother came to the UK at 17 for goodness sake in the 70's well before any drug violence (not that in Armenia there was much of that anyway) looking forward to a world of adventure. The people of the eje cafetero are "colonisers" by nature, since those that went from Spain to the Antioquian colonisation of the 19th century. Although her brothers/sisters and same on dad's side experienced some difficulties regarding affording stuff, paying for studies and employment during the 90's early 2000's with a tiny bit of financial help from my parents all of them are doing just as well as we are which shows that with hard graft, education and a little boost up you can also excel in Colombia.

Just because you married into a poor family where the family dynamics are broken or relationships are preserved more out of need than anything else or your neighbours in the poorish barrio want to swindle you doesn't mean that every reality is like that.

I'm just as hard on people that moan about London and England and that its better back home. That there's nothing to do in London on a budget, that you can't go down to the river or to a friend's/family's country house. Well Leave then! I don't have patience for all this moaning. Every place has its virtues and its clear that you're jaded and married into an unpleasant family and neighbourhood. You think you're the only one that experiences a cultural ceiling? I was bloody well born here, I'm English/British (I don't even know if I can be accepted as English) and you think I don't experience a cultural ceiling? You're not unique in this but instead of moaning about it you can use it to your advantage or just accept it and enjoy telling people politely to direct themselves to you in future.

In any case I say this out of love, it's time for you to leave and I sincerely hope you find the peaches and cream existence or as close to it as possible elsewhere although in a polarised society where the head of state denies environmental damage matters, the one biggest problem or our times and just sows division and discourse among "races" or where cost of living is sky rocketing and people are less active, less communal and just keep getting fatter, I don't fancy the chances.

Last edited by Pueblofuerte; 05-10-2019 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 05-10-2019, 06:16 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
974 posts, read 1,962,673 times
Reputation: 1023
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
For your information my family did not settle in the UK out of need, they were invited. Just as many people were invited (mainly from Commonwealth countries but for some reason there was an agent in Armenia) to the UK in the 70's when more people were emigrating from the country than immigrating into it.

My mother came to the UK at 17 for goodness sake in the 70's well before any drug violence (not that in Armenia there was much of that anyway) looking forward to a world of adventure. The people of the eje cafetero are "colonisers" by nature, since those that went from Spain to the Antioquian colonisation of the 19th century. Although her brothers/sisters and same on dad's side experienced some difficulties regarding affording stuff, paying for studies and employment during the 90's early 2000's with a tiny bit of financial help from my parents all of them are doing just as well as we are which shows that with hard graft, education and a little boost up you can also excel in Colombia.

Just because you married into a poor family where the family dynamics are broken or relationships are preserved more out of need than anything else or your neighbours in the poorish barrio want to swindle you doesn't mean that every reality is like that.

I'm just as hard on people that moan about London and England and that its better back home. That there's nothing to do in London on a budget, that you can't go down to the river or to a friend's/family's country house. Well Leave then! I don't have patience for all this moaning. Every place has its virtues and its clear that you're jaded and married into an unpleasant family and neighbourhood. You think you're the only one that experiences a cultural ceiling? I was bloody well born here, I'm English/British (I don't even know if I can be accepted as English) and you think I don't experience a cultural ceiling? You're not unique in this but instead of moaning about it you can use it to your advantage or just accept it and enjoy telling people politely to direct themselves to you in future.

In any case I say this out of love, it's time for you to leave and I sincerely hope you find the peaches and cream existence or as close to it as possible elsewhere although in a polarised society where the head of state denies environmental damage matters, the one biggest problem or our times and just sows division and discourse among "races" or where cost of living is sky rocketing and people are less active, less communal and just keep getting fatter, I don't fancy the chances.
Yes, we´re working on it. Wife´s parents now live in Spain, so we´re kind of alone raising a baby here, it´s not easy. My parents try and come down every few months at least. I don´t expect paradise anywhere, but once we´re back closer to family then life will improve. I´m looking forward to being a dual language teacher in the States, just to try to make the new immigrant and migrant students feel more welcome than I and apparently even you at times have felt in your own country. I´m not sleeping on your advice to me either, it´ll resonate more I´m sure once I´m on the other side.

Cheers.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aab7855 View Post
but it often comes down to necessity and need not be taken personally.
Hey, but you are thinking about moving to Mexico, right? I'll be honest with you, you're not going to find anything better there. It's gonna be about the same as Colombia.
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Old 05-11-2019, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,809 posts, read 9,467,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pueblofuerte View Post
My mother came to the UK at 17 for goodness sake in the 70's well before any drug violence (not that in Armenia there was much of that anyway) looking forward to a world of adventure.
There wasn't drug violence, but there was a heck of a lot of political violence and bloodshed, as your mother certainly would have witnessed/remembered from the 1940s and 50s. I'm not saying that's why your mom left, I'm just saying Colombia was far from peaceful even before cocaine came on the scene.

Quote:
I sincerely hope you find the peaches and cream existence or as close to it as possible elsewhere although in a polarised society where the head of state denies environmental damage matters, the one biggest problem or our times and just sows division and discourse among "races" or where cost of living is sky rocketing and people are less active, less communal and just keep getting fatter, I don't fancy the chances.
Spain doesn't have these issues, but their economy is not good so finding a job there is probably impossible. The U.S. has plenty of jobs but also has the afformentioned issues.


aab: what is it you're not happy with in Colombia? What is it you'd like to see in a new place you move to? I could offer some suggestions and pointers if I know specifically.
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Old 05-11-2019, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
974 posts, read 1,962,673 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post


aab: what is it you're not happy with in Colombia? What is it you'd like to see in a new place you move to? I could offer some suggestions and pointers if I know specifically.
I always appreciate how helpful you are, having lived in many places among many different subcultures. You´re also honest about how things are and don´t try to polarize your opinion on places. I digress...

Hindsight is always 20/20 as they say, and when I moved here I tried to take a position which has subsequently left me isolated from both sides (isolated from both many "expats" and many locals).

The few Colombian-American professionals who have come back here to live seem to also be "jaded" in some ways, and in my first few years I often ignored their advice about how things work here, and now as my time is running out here, I realize, damn they´re right. I shunned the idea of moving into an Estrato 6 apartment block, where the monthly fees for 24 hour security often equal rent in a simple apartment in a middle class area. All the other foreign teachers at my school MUST live in these in their first year of the contract, and in the subsequent years they often stay just because life there is easy. I also ignored buying a cookie-cutter townhome in an Estrato 5 "conjunto", where security costs are also high and to me feels like living in a compound. Instead I bought a huge house (at least given the size of my family) in Estrato 4, supposed to be middle class, right? This place is valued at 200 million+ pesos, I don´t live in a poor area. It just needs to be said, middle class here isn´t middle class like in more developed countries. I guess I should have just taken the school 1 BR apartment, paid more for everything, stuck with the foreigners in my building and comported myself like an expat in a bubble, and called it a day.

I refuse to blanket an entire country either. I have zero problems getting by in Bogotá, but Pereira and other non-tourist cities of its size are terribly provincial to be honest. Medellín outside of El Poblado, Barranquilla and to a good extent Cali are also places where all of the locals just "get it" and certain numbers of them don´t seem totally offput by someone who is a LITTLE different than them. Seriously, I´m not the only one saying this. One of my good friends was just here, he´s been to Perú, Bolivia, Guatemala, Honduras, México..and he says that Colombia outside of Bogotá feels the most isolated in many ways. I have a friend from Spain (dual US and Spanish citizen) who is a news anchor here for France 24 Español, they have their Latin American station here, and she says she´d never felt so foreign until she moved to Bogotá. My wife above all people really picks up on this, she has girlfriends who have dated my foreign co-workers and they all say the same thing...people act "el montañero" in front of foreigners, and it makes you go sometimes...pena ajena as they say.

This is something written by a blogger about Medellín of all places, where people clam up far less about foreigners:

Cognitive Dissonance

Described as a phenomenon in which a person is faced with two opposing internal viewpoints, or a challenge to their strongly held beliefs if you like, this confounding occurrence and not a lack of proficiency in Spanish is often to blame when foreigners find that nobody can understand a word they say.

I once spent five minutes at the checkout counter of a supermarket trying to communicate that I had ordered a sanduche mediterraneo from the deli and that I wanted to pay. Numerous people gathered, including the security guard, trying to understand me to no avail.

Finally I was given a piece of paper and scribbled down the name of my sandwich. A collective sigh indicated that they had all gotten it at once.

I hadn’t been pronouncing mediterráneo correctly. It has an accent mark and the vowel should sound like an “ah” instead of an “eh.”

One would think that an educated individual could figure it out; that they might be able to fill in the gaps if something is not said perfectly. Not here.

Very few locals have ever been exposed to hearing their language spoken a little differently, or a little incorrectly, or even in a different accent.

People I’ve met from Argentina and Spain also report that they’ve come across people who can’t understand a word they’re saying, and it’s the same language… If I can understand what a Chilean wants to communicate even though I don’t recognize all the words, why do so many paisas struggle?

Even if a foreigner has generally mastered Spanish and can communicate fluently, that won’t always save them.

The cashier has been too focused on your light skin, blue eyes, and the fact that you’re a foreigner, and is now too nervous to process information.

You’ve already lost… she’s convinced herself that as a foreigner you won’t be able to say a thing in Spanish, and she’s prepared herself to not understand.

Anything you say at this point in Spanish will go right over her head.


Want to know what I sound like? Watch Narcos, everyone says I talk like the guy who is trying to sound Paisa who plays Pablo Escobar...seriously friends of mine who had never seen the show and watch it laugh to tears at how similar our accents are. Is it an affront to Colombians that a foreigner is playing this guy? Sure. Can you understand him? Is he speaking incorrect or halting Spanish that locals can´t make out? That´s what I thought, case closed. So after all this time yes, I get very frustrated when people won´t even look at me when I am with my wife, and when I am doing all the talking they just look at her and answer. It´s illogical. But hey, we´re visual creatures...they see me and that´s why they think and act the way they do. It won´t change, or not for some time. It´s also a non-issue in places of repeat business, where people know me.

She and I have done a lot of "social experiments" like only speaking Spanish everywhere we go when we visit the States (6 visits deep now), and the reception has been lovely. The most common response is smiles from middle-aged white ladies, almost as if to say, "How nice, I wish there were more bicultural couples here"...granted this is New Orleans which is an extremely tolerant city and one that in particular has taken to its recent arrivals from Latin America. Speaking English in public here in Pereira is very uncomfortable to be honest, and I avoid it at all costs.

My wife´s take on this is that due to the conflict and the media and all that, there seems to be a pervasive inferiority complex in Colombians, especially those who never left the country. It can be concealed with an air of haughtiness, but deep down in the core it stems from the opposite mentality. Since many people choose the blanket belief that life in the US, Canada, Europe, etc. is exponentially better, something is wrong with me, mister fluent gringo who tried to settle down here and not just do a gap year/retirement. 80skeys already touched on this in his own way, and you know, there´s some truth to it. I wish people would just relax, be a little more confident and want to know other people as INDIVIDUALS, irrespective of their passport. I know I´ll be doing that from here on out.

Yeah the USA has its problems, sure. In terms of getting fat or choosing to be active, I look forward to living in a place with indoor pools, salad bars at the supermarkets, restaurants with mindfully healthy menu options, and most importantly, a population with better education about what actually constitutes healthy eating. It´s a shame so many Americans choose to ignore it though...in terms of politics, well, the sooner I´m back there (projected move date June 2020) the sooner I can participate in all elections and not just the absentee presidential ballot. It´s a shame who is in charge over there, but Duque and the paracos who support him are no better. Fracking will have a much larger effect in a country this densely populated, whose paramos and water tables are so tragically intertwined. For now, community organizers of color aren´t being systematically executed in the United States. I should have never dropped the rope, things have devolved a lot since I left in 2013...but this too shall pass...

I only say all this to bring the online community back down to earth, since all of a sudden Colombia is in vogue and more than a few people are eyeing it as a potential place to spend extended amounts of time. To the young "digital nomads" and potential retirees...aim high and look for the high estrato buildings only...your exchange rate will suffer a little and the idea of Colombia being sooo much cheaper won´t seem quite as apparent, but you´ll be living alongside local people who "get it" and all that security you pay for will, more importantly than just keeping you safe, relieve any potential conflicts that might arise along the way. How much you choose to integrate is up to you. I always used to roll my eyes at these young teachers from my school who bounced after a year or two of trying to convince their friends on social media that they were living in paradise while probably only learning enough Spanish to greet their portero and the local staff at school and just sticking to each other and the odd bilingual Colombian. I think the best approach is the middle ground, where I was essentially in my first few years here. There is a ceiling, but at first it´s hard to reach, and initially people appreciate it when an effort is made. People need to know what they will encounter, and whether they will choose to view the glass as half full or half empty. In my first few years, for me the glass seemed completely full, since I figured most of the cons of the place would fade away as I further adapted to life...but alas, that didn´t happen. I´m at fault for looking at the glass as half empty now, I get it.

I´ll take my years here and move on...if I´ve painted myself as a miserable sop wallowing in my own self-pity, then I´m not offering much balance here on these boards, Pueblofuerte hopefully you understand me a little more than you did a few days back. If anything, the treatment between locals is much more alarming to me than any experiences my bicultural family has had. Classism is a serious problem here.

I came here with halting Spanish spoken in a puertogringorriqueño accent and I´m leaving with functioning bilingualism in social and educational settings. I have a family now, and their bottom line comes first...we´ll be better off somewhere else, no fault of Colombia anymore, simply my time here has run its course. I´d like to live in a bilingual community in the United States, there are plenty of options but El Paso for example seems nice. If that doesn´t work out, well, the world is a big place and for now we still enjoy relative freedom of movement. Once I get to the other side, these years here will be all the easier to analyze and learn from.

If we ever decide to come back (it could be an option after 5 years, when my wife can become a dual citizen and my daughter´s most formative years of language acquisition are behind her), I´d probably take a job in one of the major cities (I´m most partial to Barranquilla, Bogotá and municipalities south of Medellín like Envigado and Sabaneta) and just try to better understand how things work, both good and bad. The fun part about life is that we never know how things are going to turn out, so we´ll see what the future holds.

Last edited by aab7855; 05-11-2019 at 11:21 AM..
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:15 AM
 
713 posts, read 474,943 times
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Gringos are very different to us, the way they behave and think is almost antagonical to ours. Economically, the USA is our main partner. Socially and culturally, they are alien to us. Both groups see the other in a very stereotyped way and there is an insurmontable distance between us. I don't see how I could merge into the USA culture, if I ever get to live there.


I think the language is one of the main reasons. A Gringo will always be one because of his/her thick accent (but also his/her manners and ways of behaving).
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Old 05-11-2019, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Canada
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Bogota seems pretty cool but I don't know about Medellin though, it just seems to attract way too many douche bag foreigners. Go on youtube and their are many of these videos of douche bags in Medellin visiting parque lleras and other places. I honestly wouldn't go to Colombia or any Latin country for its cities. I find the essence of countries are in their small towns and rural areas. Not saying the cities are all bad, they just aren't what attract me to Latin America.

Quote:
I think the language is one of the main reasons. A Gringo will always be one because of his/her thick accent (but also his/her manners and ways of behaving).
What about their way of behaving?

I often wonder how Colombians would react to my accent? I suspect they might think I am Mexican.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,809 posts, read 9,467,884 times
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aab: it's not just Colombia, you'll find similar behavior among Mexicans. You're putting it a nice way by calling it "provincial" but what it really is: they don't care much for foreigners and they're going to make a point of "not going out of their way" to understand you.

It's a sad fact, but that's why I've told people who want to learn Spanish they're better off practicing it in Spain because the Spaniards are more welcoming of non-native speakers as they are exposed to them a lot more.



I don't recommend El Paso. You'll be better off in bilingual communities in California (there are tons of towns and/or neighborhoods in the bigger cities where the dominant language is Spanish and 99% of the people are of Mexican descent). California has an excellent economy, you'll find many more opportunities there, plus clean air, liberal politics, etc. People will tell you it's expensive, but there are communities like Watsonville which are affordable.



Why not El Paso? Believe it or not, if you move to El Paso or Albuquerque, you're going to find an economy that resembles Colombia. Lack of jobs. Lack of mobility. It's easy to get stuck in those places.
In California, the only way you'll get stuck is if you wanna be stuck. Otherwise, you will find vast opportunities to do how you will. I know Mexican landscapers here who work for themselves and make $150k/year taking care of people's houses.
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Old 05-12-2019, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,809 posts, read 9,467,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanLuis View Post
What about their way of behaving?
Colder, more stuck-up, not as relaxed, polite but not willing to get close, critical, very organized, not able to form easy friendships. Their way of talking is cautious, halting, they're not as expressive in their speech, they always watch what they say.
Quote:
I often wonder how Colombians would react to my accent? I suspect they might think I am Mexican.
What is your accent? You were raised by Hispanics in Canada?
Quote:
Originally Posted by joacocanal View Post
Gringos are very different to us, the way they behave and think is almost antagonical to ours.
There's Hispanic way of thinking and behaving (shared throughout the hispanic world, all the way from New Mexico down to Argentina, and even Spain) and there's the Anglo mentality, and the two are quite different.
Quote:
I don't see how I could merge into the USA culture, if I ever get to live there.
You would do what other Latinos, Mexicans, Hispanics do: stick in our own communities. In fact you can easily live here for decades without ever speaking English.
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