My Colombia, Their Colombia: Luis

*Para leer esta entrevista en español, baja hasta el fin

What is My Colombia, Their Colombia?

My Colombia, Their Colombia, is a new series of interviews with my Colombian friends and other random Colombians I meet. I thought it would be a great way to enlighten my readers about the reality of Colombia in a way that my own observations cannot.

My Colombia refers to my experiences, through the eyes of a foreigner. Their Colombia refers to the thoughts and perspectives of the people who make this country great. Somewhere in between lies our Colombia, the country that we all love.

Who is Luis?

Luis El Muelle Jardin Colombia

this is Luis correcting my interview

Luis is a friend I met in Jardin, a pueblo in the southern reaches of Antioquia. He is originally from Medellín, but chose to move to Jardin to open up a hostel after falling in love with the place. I started talking to him about interviewing Colombians and sharing their stories on my blog, and I got an enthusiastic response. “I want to interview you,” I said. “I want to make a video of it.” He wasn’t interested. After keeping my fingers crossed and a bit of prodding, he agreed to do a written interview. We both think it’s a “baccaneria”. I am super grateful to him for being my guinea pig, and for also being an awesome person.

The Translation

I’m presenting this interview in both languages. I conducted the interview in Spanish, so I wanted to post it in its raw form for my Spanish-speaking readers to enjoy. I am kind of bilingual, and Luis is kind of bilingual. We figured between the two of us, the English translation is halfway decent. If you are a super bilingual reader and notice a discrepancy, please do let me know.

In English

Q.  What was Medellín like when you were growing up?

A. Medellín has always been and until now continues being a city full of contrasts; on one hand it has a friendly warmth about its people (you could say that it is their best quality), a privileged climate (the city of the eternal spring), a landscape full of colors, exuberant, and diverse vegetation, old and modern works and constructions. All these rest in a branch of the majestic and mystic mountain range of the Andes, the vertebral column of Latin America and America.

On the other hand, every big city of Latin America, and if I am not wrong of the world, has problems, amongst so much, owing to the growth of the same, therefore generating hostile suburbs, extreme poverty, and all the problems that are derived from this.

In my childhood particularly there was a period that considerably marked the course of the city, and it was the terrible period of drug trafficking that left as a consequence some injuries on our culture that still are not healed.

Actually, Medellín took a more humane course, strengthening culturally and educationally. It’s like this that today Medellín represents a city acknowledged for the quantity, quality, and magnitude of events of this kind; for example the international festival of poetry, it was the site of the South American games in 2010, the international fashion festival, a book festival,  the flower festival, among others.

It seems to be that the mediums of communication only highlight the negative about our city and country, but really, the reality is something else. The capital of the mountain is a treasure!

horse Jardin Colombia

Luis on our trip to La Cueva del Esplendor

Q. What’s the difference between Medellín and Jardin?

A. Medellín has already been defined briefly and with all this, compared with Jardin it’s an abyss. The city continues to be a city, and above all a Latino city, disordered, out of control. While a pueblo is the contrary, there is space and time passes to contemplate aspects of life and its environment that differs greatly from how you live in the city. A principal aspect is the harmony that lives with the natural and spiritual environment.

Q. What’s up with the Paisas versus the Rolos? (Side note: A Rolo is someone from Bogota, and a Paisa is someone from the regions of Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, or Quindío. Paisas have a hilarious way of insulting people from Bogota. They will almost always reference the cold climate, the rudeness of Bogotanos, and that they are ugly. Only the first one is true.)

A. The Paisa is a regionalist, friendly, and a jokester; while the Rolos are open (with respect to their regionalism), more restricted, cultured, and introverted. This is one of the reasons (the cultural difference) for which the Paisa “has to mess with the Rolo”… it’s a very superficial business.

Q.  Teach us a Paisa word or phrase.

A. “Una bacaneria” is something very cool.

Q.  What countries have you been to? What’s been your best experience traveling?

A. A little bit of many and of those only a short brushstroke. Best experience, all of the travels. One is in Jardin sharing with people and the nature.

Colombian flag Waypoint Hostel Medellin Colombia

Colombia represent!

Q.  What is your big dream for Colombia?

A. That [Colombia] can finally spread its wings and detach from so many problems and ticks [blood suckers].

Q.  What do you think about the FARC? The situation with Venezuela?

A. Too much is spoken about this, more of the same story; to speak more would be to feed the ego and the pockets of those that benefit from these problems… the problem is the terrorism and the use of the force…

Q.  What do you want to say to the people reading this interview?

A. It is difficult to see a shooting star, fortunately.

En Español

P. ¿Como era Medellín cuando estabas creciendo?

R. Medellín siempre ha sido y hasta hoy sigue siendo una ciudad llena de contrastes; por un lado tiene una acogedora calidez en sus gentes, (podría decir que es su mejor calidad), un clima privilegiado (la ciudad de la eterna primavera), una paisaje llena de colores, exuberante y diversa vegetación, antiguas y modernas obras y construcciones. Todo esto reposa en un brazo de la majestuosa y mística cordillera de los Andes, columna vertebral de Latinoamérica y América.

Por otro lado, toda gran ciudad latinoamericana y si no estoy mal del mundo, tiene problemas, entre tanto, debido al crecimiento de la misma, generando por ende suburbios hostiles, pobreza extrema, y todos los problemas que se derivan por esto.

En mi infancia particularmente hubo una época que marco considerablemente el rumbo de la ciudad, y fue la terrible época del narcotráfico que dijo como consecuencia unas heridas en nuestra cultura que aun no logran cicatrizase.

Festival de las Flores Medellin 2010

Festival de las Flores

Actualmente, Medellín toma un rumbo mas humano, fortaleciéndose cultural y educativamente. Es así que hoy Medellín representa una ciudad reconocida por la cantidad, calidad, y magnitud de eventos de esta índole; como por ejemplo el festival internacional de poesía, fue sede de los juegos suramericanos 2010, feria internacional de la moda, fiesta de libro, fiesta la flores, entre otros.

Parece ser que los medios de comunicación solo resaltan lo negativo de nuestra ciudad y país, pero realmente la realidad es otra. ¡La capital de la montana es un tesoro!

P. ¿Cual es la diferencia de vivir en Medellín y Jardin?

R. De Medellín se ha descrito ya un muy breve panorama y con todo eso, comparado con Jardin es un abismo. La ciudad no deja de ser una ciudad, y sobre todo una ciudad latina, un despelote, descontrol. Mientras que un pueblo es lo contrario, hay un espacio y tiempo pasa contemplar aspectos de la vida y su entorno que difieren mucho de cómo se vive la ciudad. Como aspecto principal es la armonía que se vive con el ambiente natural y espiritual.

P. ¿Que pasan entre los paisas y los rolos? (Nota: Un Paisa es alguien de Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, o Quindío y un Rolo es alguien de Bogotá. Los Paisas casi siempre tienen malas cosas a decir de los Rolos, es bien chistoso.)

R. El paisa como tal es muy regionalista, amiguero y charlatán; mientras los rolos son abiertos (respecto al regionalismo), parcos, cultos e introvertidos. Esta es una de las razones (la diferencia cultural) por la cual el paisa “se la tiene montada al rolo”… Es un asunto muy superficial.

P. Enséñanos una palabra o frase paisa.

R. Una bacaneria – algo muy chévere.

P. ¿Cuales países conoces y que es la mejor experiencia viajando?

R. Pocos de tantos y de ellos solo una breve pinceladita. Mejor experiencia, todos los viajes. Una, está en Jardin compartiendo con la gente y ambiente.

P. ¿Cual es tu gran sueño para Colombia?

R. Que pueda finalmente desplegar sus alas y desprenderse de tanto chicharrón y garrapata.

P. ¿Que piensas de las FARC? ¿La situación con Venezuela?

R. Se habla demasiado de eso, más de la cuenta; hablar más seria alimentar mas al ego y los bolsillos de los que se beneficio de estas problemáticas… El problema es el terrorismo y uso de la fuerza…

P. ¿Que quieres decir a la gente leyendo la entrevista?

R. Que es difícil ver una estrella fugaz, afortunadamente.

  • Robert

    Hey Jasmine!

    Really enjoyed this post. I think your ‘My Columbia, Their Columbia’ is a great idea, avoiding the dangers of nasal gazing. I really look forward to your future posts.

    Rob

  • jasminewanders

    Thanks for reading Rob! Hope all is well :D

  • Buneos tardes, Jasmine, from Mexico! My husband and I have been following your wonderful blog in anticipation of our trip to Colombia. We are native Californians but have been full-time expats for fourteen years living in various Latin countries. We are anticipating our exploration of Colombia with great excitement. Your “My Colombia” interviews are a fantastic idea and addition to your blog! We look forward to following your adventures and would love to meet you in person. Any idea how long you will be Medellin? Muchas gracias! Laura

  • jasminewanders

    Hi Laura! Wow thanks so much and I’m sure you will love Colombia :) I’m actually not planning to live in Medellin, I’m still traveling around at the moment but am thinking of eventually settling in a pueblo in the same region. If you have any questions at all, please let me know! :) Buen viaje!

  • Go, girl, go! My husband and I so enjoy your blog. Two of our favorite countries where we have lived were New Zealand and Guatemala. Sound familiar? We will be in touch. Buen viajes, tambien!

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  • It seems to be that the “mediums of communication” (MEDIA) only highlight the negative about our city and country, but really, the reality is something else. The capital of the mountain is a treasure!