I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Manizales, Colombia. We are known for our breathtaking sunsets and our friendly people. Growing up in Colombia I grew up very close to my cousins. We were practically siblings and we did everything together. When I was 9 years old I came to the United States. I was so excited to come to this country full of new and exciting opportunities. Coming here allowed me to get familiar with many different cultures and heritages. After 5 years of being in this country I had the opportunity to travel back to my country and see my family and friends that I grew up with. I was so overly excited to go back to my country that I forgot to remind myself that things would be different. While planning my trip to Colombia I had no consideration of the changes I was about to see, not only in my city but also in the people closest to my heart. After all, five years was a very long time. My cousins were no longer children they were teenagers.
I traveled to Colombia for vacation on July 2008. When I arrived I was so happy to see all my family. They threw a huge surprise party just for me and I felt welcomed and loved. The first few days were very exciting. I walked along the streets that where my playground as a child. I ate my favorite home cooked meals like Sudado and Bandeja. I quickly got accustomed to the warm climate and streets full of music and people. But as time began to pass by I noticed how much my cousins had changed and how they were more mature and involved in their separate worlds. It was my mission to belong in their own personalized worlds. The hardest part was noticing how much my cousins had drifted apart. They were no longer as close as when we were children and I lived thousands of miles away. My fun and exciting expectations quickly turned into disappointments. I felt so confused and I simply couldn’t adapt to the new personalities I encountered in my friends and family.
I was so involved in trying to adapt to everything around me that was familiar yet distant, that it became a hardship to satisfy the people around me. They were very friendly and they tried their hardest to make me feel at “home”. But I couldn’t pretend to feel like I belong right there with them. How come the place that I grew up with felt like an unknown destination? Maybe I was so busy focused on others that I didn’t realize that perhaps I was the one that had changed. I began to cry a lot because I had a mixture of emotions that was impossible to describe. No one understood how “out-of-place” I felt. Eventually after a month of not wanting to be there, I began to adapt. Everything became more familiar. All the sounds, people, food, music and climate felt like home. I was able to travel a lot around my city and visit places I had never seen as a child. After the emotional rollercoaster I experienced during my trip, I felt that excitement that I had expected all along. I was able to bring my cousins closer together and remind them of the bond we had as children. It was an emotional trip but it allowed me to mature and better understand the changes around me that had occurred while I was gone. It was a wonderful trip which will forever be in my memories and in my heart.
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