Coasting out of Colombia

This summer was perhaps the toughest and longest summer of my life. It probably had something to do with the fact that I had to move across the continent from South America, where I’ve lived all of my life in the coast of Colombia. I am originally a city girl, used to having access to the beach at all times, so when my parents told me we were moving to a small Midwestern town I was a bit upset. It didn’t seem fair that my parents were making me move to another country, with another language and a different culture, when I just had two more years of high school left. There wasn’t much I could do though, so by mid-June we were packing our bags and saying goodbye to everyone, arriving about eight hours and several planes later to Midland.

My first impression of Midland was that it was entirely too quiet. I was used to the hustle and bustle of the city, so going out at night around the neighborhood and seeing the streets being basically deserted was a very strange experience for me. Actually, walking around at night in the streets was a strange concept itself, because doing that back home was the same thing as handing all your valuables personally to a robber without any struggle.

I also had a bit of trouble with the language concept. Even though I’ve known English since I was about five, and by middle school I was already fluent, it was still weird for me going to a restaurant and ordering my food in English. I became somewhat stuck because I usually only spoke it when I was in school, but now it was really different because I kept hearing it everywhere instead of hearing the usual Spanish you hear in Colombia.

The summer months were very long and boring, and consisted of me staying home and not doing anything, which was something I wasn’t used to. Some summer days were really “cold” for me too because I came from a city with 90° weather year-round, where December and January meant rainy days and winter break was used as an excuse to go to the beach. Obviously I now know that 70° isn’t cold at all, but then again I’ve never seen the snow, probably making me the only person in the state that hasn’t. Everyone keeps telling me how it’s not that great, and how I’ll get tired of it after a week, but right now I can’t help but feel a little bit excited on seeing something I’ve only ever seen in movies or read about in books.

Overall, moving here has been very interesting and definitely filled with new experiences that never seem to end. From my first football game, to soon celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time, it seems that I’ll never get bored here in this small town in Michigan that I’m slowly starting to like.

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Natalia Paternina

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