I just returned from a week-long trip to Medellin, Colombia. When coworkers and friends asked me where I was vacationing and I responded with “Medellin,” I received responses marked by perplexed facial expressions.
Perhaps, their minds were filled with visions of the Pablo Escobar days or an episode of Modern Family, where Gloria, the feisty Colombian woman, often alludes to her days in Colombia where people resolved problems, by well… literally taking the other person out.
To be honest, I didn’t quit know what to expect of the country. I knew that it was a developing country and that it had a sordid history marked by drugs and violence. My imagination was influenced by media, news and television programming. Colombia was not anything of the sort. Despite being a developing country, the people’s pride in the city of Medellin was obvious. The houses were charming and perfectly manicured with fiery colored Bouganvillas and orchids.
The most shocking part to me was how insanely clean the public transportation system was. It was spotless. While hanging out downtown, I could look out to the mountains that surrounded the city and spot paragliders soaring high in the bright blue sky above. Medellin was a beautiful and safe city, contrary to my original beliefs. This made me think about my time in China. Had I not lived there for several years and experienced life for myself, what would my thoughts about the country be today? Now we obviously can’t go to all of the countries in the world to gain our own perspective, but as we are bombarded daily with media, let us remember that it ultimately is up to us to find our own truth about the vast world around us.
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