I’ve never been one to get particularly attached to a place. I moved a lot growing up, from New York to North Carolina to Washington State. Until I was 19, I had never lived in one house for more than 4 years. I can’t say I minded. Moving was normal and fun, and home was never defined by a place.
Home has always been wherever my family is. I love my parents and my 13 siblings. From tiny apartments to a sprawling farmhouse, we’ve loved and laughed and fought and dreamed together. And whenever I’ve traveled, I’ve missed them.
Until I went to Colombia. I kept waiting for the homesickness to hit. But it never did. Granted, I was only there for a week, and I knew I was coming back. Every other time I’ve travelled, though, I’ve been at least a little homesick, and always glad to come home.
God worked something in my heart during the week in Colombia. I don’t fully know what, nor do I know the implications for the future. Yet I felt completely at home in Colombia. I still can’t truthfully say that I’m happy to be back “home”.
Being half-Columbian has never been a big part of my identity before. Now it is. In Colombia, I found my people. My home. My family. My Spanish accent matched theirs. The colors, the customs, the culture, all of it drew me in. I was even told that some of my facial features looked Colombian. The people are so wonderful, so welcoming, so beautiful.
I’ve fallen in love with Colombia. I can’t wait to go back. I miss it so much. I’m deeply homesick for Colombia. For the precious friendships I made here. My brothers and sisters in Christ that I bonded with so deeply. I miss the beautiful Spanish. I miss the friendly smiles in the streets. I miss the traditional greeting of a hug and kiss on the cheek. I miss the prayers where everyone is talking simultaneously, the “Amen y Amen” at the end of every prayer. I miss the brightly colored houses everywhere. I miss the gorgeous green mountains and perfect mountain air. I miss the hospitality. I miss the open hearts to the Gospel.
Coming home was hard. Really, really hard. In some ways, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel fully home again. I don’t love my family any less. I’m sure that if I was away from them for a long period of time, even in Colombia, I would miss them deeply. But I don’t know if they’ll ever define home for me again as they always have in the past.
Colombia, you’ve captured me. I’ve always prayed about the possibility of living overseas. Always assuming that it would be in a foreign country. Colombia, you’re not a foreign country. You’re my country. God is up to something, I don’t know what. Perhaps one day He’ll let me live there. Perhaps His plan is something I haven’t even thought of yet.
My Colombian brothers and sisters, thank you for welcoming me into your hearts and homes. Thank you for serving with me in our beautiful country. I’m praying for the day God will bring me back home. And in the meantime, I’ll serve Him at home.
P.S. Enjoy the pictures of Colombia!