Posted by: Sarah | October 20, 2006

no es mas que un reflejo de mis pensamientos…

I finally made it home Wednesday morning, a day later than planned, but more well-rested than expected. Cancelled buses in this country no longer surprise me, and it was nice to have an excuse to spend an extra day in Medellín winding down from an intense week. Attending another AIESEC conference here in Colombia was great; stretching it into an 8-day vacation to travel around Antioquia made it even better.

Even though TDM was a regional conference and I *technically* should have been in Santa Marta for the weekend, I applied to the conference in the West Zone, the farthest one from the coast. It was an excuse to see another city that I had heard so many great things about (yay Manizales!), but even more than that, it was an excuse to spend some time with some of my best friends in Colombia.

Even though my entire being in Colombia goes back to AIESEC, I had been feeling lately as if something was missing from my life…AIESEC. The people who I hang out with and the work I do on a daily basis are great, but they are completely removed from AIESEC. It may sound ridiculous (well, at least to non-@ers), but I started to realize how much I missed having people around me in my day-to-day life who are as passionate about AIESEC as I am. Granted, so many of my friends at home didn’t understand exactly why it was such a huge deal to me, but the more that I threw myself into the org. last year, the more I found myself surrounded with @ people. It has taken awhile for me to figure out exactly how AIESEC still fits into my life now that I am no longer an active member of an LC or surrounded by a team working toward similar goals…which is how I found myself on the International Opportunities Specialist team of AIESEC US. It has become a perfect transition from the work that I did last year working with trainee reception, event planning, and attending AXLDS to my life here in Colombia. Since I returned from Colombia, everyone around me knew that I wouldn’t stop talking about the country. I wanted a chance to share what I had discovered with more people…and now I can. I have tons of work ahead of me, but the more I do, the more ideas I come up with and I am ready to take the project on.

TDM was exactly what I needed to reenergize, refocus, and spark my passion for AIESEC again. Reconnecting with friends who I met while at two different international conferences in South America is surreal. The look that I saw on the faces of people who didn’t know I would be attending the conference, or even that I was back in Colombia, was priceless. Thursday evening I went out for drinks with Lucas, Diana, Cata, and Andres after we arrived to Manizales. As I looked around the table, I saw some of my closest friends, people who believed in me, and were a huge part of the reason that I am back in Colombia. Yes, AIESEC is about developing leadership and professional experience abroad, but some of the greatest impact comes through in the friendships that you make. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling of having a familiar face meet you at the bus station or the difference that it makes to crash on the couch of a friend in a foreign country rather than in a hostel.

Networking was huge this weekend, and definitely a good start for my IOS research. After emailing back and forth with JuanK, the MCVP of exchange in Colombia (and former LCP of UNINORTE), we finally met and were able to swap thoughts about exchange in Colombia. We bonded over B’Quilla stories of arroyos and Puerto Colombia…how ugly and industrial the city really is, but how much we loved it anyway. It’s a one-of-a-kind place. There were quite a few trainees there from all over Colombia; it was fun to hang out with them, compare stories, and skip out on the *boring* sessions with the excuse that “we’re trainees and need to see the village of Chinchina and visit a coffee finca rather than discuss LC structure”.

One of the best sessions of the weekend was one that Andres led on “what to do with our trainees”, which was definitely a productive, constructive learning experience for both the trainees and the @ers. My experience here so far has been that way too often trainees complain when things don’t go perfectly, but rarely do they take advantage of actually taking steps to improve them.

Ahhhhh, and the Spanish practice!! AXLDS – almost completely in English. ConoSur – all in Spanish, but even though I could understand most of what was going on (despite the crazy Argentine accent), I couldn’t contribute anything. TDM, however, was a different story. This was the first conference that I have facilitated anything (granted it was only a learning circle, not an official session, but still…) and the first time that I have spoken during the closing plenary of a conference…and I did both of these in Spanish. Not a huge deal, but felt pretty damn good.

I finally made a decision about my winter break travel plans. I’m not going back to Argentina, at least not during this vacation. Even though a part of me is disappointed…I love Buenos Aires and still have every intention of returning as soon as I can to see more of that beautiful country…when I listen to my head and my heart, I know it is the right decision. Practical reason? There is no way I can justify the cost of the trip, when the overpriced, holiday season airfare alone is equivalent to about a month and a half’s salary. Reason that I didn’t just say screw it and fork over the plastic? I don’t want to leave Colombia for that long. Call me crazy, but if I am going to be “away from home” for the holidays, I want to spend Christmas and New Years in a place that now feels like home. Hopefully I can make it to Cali and/or Manizales for the holiday festivals, but no matter where I end up, I am having way too damn much fun traveling within this country to leave…

Just gonna keep rolling with it and see how this adventure plays itself out…


  1. Wow girl. You certainly have your own adventures. I’m so glad to see that you’re enjoying yourself. Take care and keep it going strong :-). And yes, we can all sleep when we’re dead 😛

    Gwen Price

    AIESEC MC Mexico
    Alumni Coordinator

  2. oh sarah you’re doing fine cause thats how we trainees roll man. you’ve got the rolling concept on the dot. 🙂

  3. […] traveled to Chinchina, at the heart of the eje cafetero, walked through the coffee fields, saw workers picking beans, cleaning them, packing them up, only […]

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