Colombia Culture Shocks

The Eat Breathe Sweat editorial team consists of four Latinas spread across the U.S. With most of my family coming from a small, coffee-centric city in Colombia called Armenia, I am the first generation U.S.-born Hispanic of our lineage. Just like my EBS team members, I keep my roots healthy and strong. I am fluent in the Spanish-language and, culturally, I identify as a Latina. It’s been a long-time wish to go on a trip to Colombia with all my family, including it’s most recent addition, the love of my life, Manny! That wish came true this last March! It was Manny’s first time in the country, and he is the inspiration for this post. He got to see my heritage from an outsider’s perspective and was able to appreciate some of the characteristics of my culture that I almost take for granted. For this post, I thought I’d share some of the top culture shocks he experienced to give you a better sense of what it’s like to experience Colombia in-person.​

Our first night in Colombia! after 7+ hour sof flying *eye twitch*

Hospitality is Key The courtesy and respect Colombians treat their guests with knows no bounds. Whether you’re a foreigner or simply a neighbor, Colombians offer their homes, food and anything else available to accommodate visitors. There’s just a constant camaraderie that flows in all interactions.

Always Scenic Colombia really is gorgeous and evergreen I typically spend time in the Southwestern region of the country, where you’ll find towns and cities cocooned within mountain ridges. Everywhere you turn, you’ll see magical rolling landscapes. So many different kinds of vegetation across ranging altitudes. I’ve even visited a town that was at the top of a mountain line: think of a sliver of civilization at the highest point of range where you'll only see the sky if you look past the buildings.

Everything is Local Agriculture is king in Colombia. Almost everything you consume is made locally, and its clearly evident in the quality of its food. You can taste the freshness. After spending some time in Colombia, returning to the U.S. and getting acclimated to the processed textures of most foods is a tough readjustment.

Living is Down-to-earth Although the country has made leaps and strides in its economy and technology, Colombia is still considered a mostly third-world country. You see vast variations of this on the street: walk between skyscrapers, but still see shack-towns between theoe urban areas. Most homes don’t have AC, internet, microwaves or filtered water.

Coffee All the Time, Every Time I left Colombia feeling like a caffeine god. Without hesitation, in Colombia, I would drink 3-4 cups of coffee a day. As late as 11:30 PM as a bed-time snack. It’s not to say the coffee was not strong - it’s some of the best coffee in the world. It’s just the culture. Colombians take pride in their coffee; it’s a traditional staple. I drank so much coffee that it came to the point that I needed to drink it frequently to stay awake some times. Could be addiction, could be the altitude. Who’s to say? Just know it was some hella good coffee.

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