The Balance – Growing up Expat

I wrote this post a few months after we arrived in Colombia and for some reason, I didn’t post it.  However, it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come and I do feel that it’s still applicable:  I am always in pursuit of the balance.

There is such a fine balance between raising your kids with the comforts of home and exposing them to the new cultural traditions and lifestyle.  I want my kids to feel adventurous in this new place but also know they have a familiar place to rest their heads when they need to recharge.

Truthfully, it is hard to give up “american traditions” for the local versions, because it feels like you are leaving something behind in the childhood checklist.   We have obviously traded fall leaves and cozy winter mornings for the tropical version and that hasn’t seemed to damper our spirits but it changes the ways in which we are accustomed to celebrating.

Much of my own pressure to make this experience magical comes from my insecurity about my decision to trade “normal” life with something so off the beaten path.  My own childhood was the epitome of stability; I was comfortable and looked forward to the many traditions my family had.   What will my children remember as we experiment with changing our familiar customs?  This seems overly dramatic, but I sometimes feel like I have one shot to get it right.  I can’t undo what we have chosen to do here and that is a scary feeling.

My updated thoughts: We have been in Colombia for 7.5 months now and while we still are very much foreigners, we are slowly and organically shifting our comfort zone.  I feel like we are creating our own version of a hybrid life.  Learning to love things about our new surroundings (Coco Rice), but making sure not to miss out on the Easter Bunny or Summer Camps.  Much of the change is not just related to being in Colombia but also a major shift in style of living.  We currently reside in a high-rise building, and we have all had to adjust to being in an urban setting 24/7.  I’m still surprised how fast my little ones have become “city kids.”   Cafe’s for lunch, hailing cabs, navigating street vendors and tourists.  Now we go in search of the peace and quiet, finding comfort in the wide open space of the countryside.  Always in search of the perfect balance.


This photo was taken by a good friend of mine, and I just had to share it.  Never gets old watching the Cartagena sunsets.


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