Trying to Come Back Home

I left my country in April.

I haven’t always lived here in Bogotá. In fact, I spent ages nine through fifteen in the US. I was young, however, and didn’t experience too much of the country. The fact of the matter is the only place I’d known, truly known, and understood was Colombia. Even so, there wasn’t any anxiety the day I boarded my flight to Europe, just pure excitement. I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I was looking forward to being an observer to how other people lived their lives, and to get a small taste of other places.

Look, the truth is Colombia isn’t too different from Europe, culturally. We’re a former Spanish colony, after all. Sure, there are huge differences even in neighbouring countries there, but the odds of me experiencing culture shock weren’t as high as they might be if I’d gone to other parts of the world.

I was right, of course. Things were very different in some ways, but familiar in others. It was a little funny to be taught that in Germany you respect traffic lights no matter what, and to be stood at a crossing waiting for the pedestrian light to turn green, even though there were no cars to be seen. In Colombia, for reference, crossing the street resembles a game of Frogger more than anything else.

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Actual footage of someone crossing a street in Bogotá

It was not very different to find the streets empty and quiet on Resurrection Sunday  in Dortmund when you’re from a formerly Catholic country, or to see a city come alive to watch the football when you’re from South America. Riding the metro in Paris was every bit comfortably and awkwardly quiet as it is taking a Transmi in Bogotá, and the intense passive aggressive annoyance at some guy who got on and played loud music was every bit as intense and passive aggressive as it gets here when the same thing happens. There were kids playing with footballs at a park in Barcelona, which made me smile and remember doing the same while growing up here.

What I didn’t expect was what would happen when I came back to Colombia. Continue reading

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Love

Love is weird.

I don’t mean in the typical pop song way. I mean more widely. What’s love, anyways? We use the word to describe what we feel towards family, or close friends, or partners, but I can tell you those are all very different feelings. Except… also not? Like I said, weird.

On one hand, the affection and protectiveness I feel for my little brother is not anything like the admiration I feel for my best friend, and how excited I feel learning more about her, even after all this time being friends. However, thinking of both of them brings a similar smile to my face, and I’ve found I feel the same about their flaws. That is, I couldn’t care less about them. Sure, I can see in what ways they’re not perfect, but it just doesn’t annoy me in the slightest. At times, I’ve even found myself feeling closer to someone after learning about those things. It’s like, I can acknowledge that it’s not a great thing about them, but I still love them more for it somehow.

Beyond that, I’ve found love, particularly romantic love, to be such an iffy term. I hear people talking about what REAL love is and what it isn’t, but… who gets to choose what the word ‘love’ means, really? It’s somewhat like describing the colour blue to another person. It’s an old philosophical idea to illustrate how impossible it is to know for sure what it’s like to be someone else. Continue reading

Coming Out

I remember being at a friend’s birthday party about three or four years ago, when I saw some facebook post about National Coming Out day in the US. I felt a familiar weight of hopelesness weigh down my heart and make the rest of the day feel like slow torture.
It felt incredibly cruel for the world to rub in the fact that some people got to be themselves, and actually had a chance at happiness, while I had to live a miserable existence in which no one knew who I was.

When I left for home that night, I felt as if I didn’t have a future, and life would always be awful.
Things have changed quite a bit since then. Continue reading

Book Reviews—The Magicians Trilogy

Wow.

Just, wow. I’ve just finished reading The Magician’s Land, Book 3 of the Magicians trilogy, and I am feeling overwhelmed. Reading the first book in the series, I did not expect I would grow to love the last one this much, or that I would feel so strongly about it. This series is excellent in so many ways.

I usually write my book reviews focusing on one book at a time, even when it’s a series. However, it’s impossible to review any part of the Magicians trilogy individually. It is a story that requires the reader to look at it as a whole, and that’s what I’ll try to do here. Before we start, let me just clarify there are no plot spoilers here, though I will speak clearly of character growth. If you can’t stand any kind of spoilers, I recommend reading the books before reading this, though make sure you read as far as the second book before giving up. Continue reading