Colombia: The Place Where I Can Always Return.
By Maria Ruiz
This was originally a school assignment that was meant to be a college essay. I decided to scrap it and turn it into a different piece. It is inspired by the mountains in Colombia.
Bogotá, Colombia, is a mountainous region where you can see the mountains while walking, driving or even from your apartment window. That was the place where I lived from the age of 0 to 7. One of my favorite things to do was to look out and stare at the landscape while my dad was driving. I remember seeing the tall mountain of Monserrate from the car while we were stuck in traffic and pointing out how you could see the sanctuary, or how terrified I was whenever we took a road trip to the city of Girardot because the only way to get there was to drive through a mountain where there’s a rock known as “The Devil’s Nose.” All I ever thought about was falling off the road, or having that big rock fall on the car. Mountains were just background scenery for me, they didn’t hold any value or important meaning until I moved away from them.
I moved to New York City in 2014. I never noticed the large differences in the landscape of New York City until recently. Now, I am only able to see long flat roads and skyscrapers. I came to realize that it wasn’t just that I miss the mountains themselves, but rather, I miss Colombia. I miss the atmosphere, the people, the culture, the unbearable heat, the rainy days, the rich and savory food, the water in a bag, the flea markets and the busy plazas.
It’s been seven years and I still haven’t gone back. It feels like New York City is a jail and any other state that isn’t within a two-hour drive is the outside world where I am prohibited from. Not being able to go back makes me feel disconnected from my roots. I tend to feel very nostalgic and sad during the summer because my classmates, family and friends are traveling to their home countries while I am stuck in New York. It’s disorienting to be so far away from mountains that were in the skyline for half of my life. The memories of seeing the mountains keep my spirit and my motivation alive, but they bring back childhood memories that I mourn. In the end, New York is my place of residence, but my home is Colombia: The place where I can always return.
This used to be a long personal narrative that included more personal details. However, I decided to cut it down so it would fit into a two-minute video. I started the piece by remembering my feelings towards living in Colombia and living in the U.S. and coming to the realization that mountains played a really huge role in my life and that they are something I unexpectedly missed. Later on, I saw the mountains as a symbol of missing my home country in general. I decided to tell my story in regards to moving to a different culture.
Maria Ruiz is a Colombian high school student living in New York who has a passion for medicine and loves music and writing. Most of her writing comes straight from her phone’s notes and encapsulates her random thoughts and opinions throughout the day or her overwhelming emotions during nerve-racking events. Although she has never considered it as her personal career, she enjoys writing in her free time or when she needs an escape. Not to mention, she is an extreme romantic.