• Catalina Martinez P

Colombia not ColUmbia

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Where I come from is not a state in the United States or the country of cocaine.

There is more behind that beautiful name Colombia and I am here to share my story of another Colombian Down Under. For you to better understand who I am and where I come from, I’ll take you through: An accent, my country, and another Colombian Down Under.

An accent

People in Australia usually say I have an accent when I talk, and they get curious to know where I am from, some others don't even ask them straight ahead comment that I sound like Gloria from Modern Family. Have you guys seen a modern family? Do you know who Gloria is?

A quick recap for those who don’t know, MF is a comedy series that shows the often-hilarious perspective of family life. There are different families in this series, and one of these is Jay and his Latina wife, Gloria who are raising 2 kids. Gloria is a sexy Latina and sometimes it looks like Jay is her father, not her husband.

Gloria is played by Sofia Vergara, a Colombian actress who became famous in the show for her strong accent in phrases Like ayy nooo why are you doing that? .... sounds quite a Latin right?

Sometimes, people pick up that accent while I am talking and get curious to know where it is from... As soon as I answer Colombia, the extra comments follow. Do you have cocaine? is Pablo Escobar really dead? is it safe to go there? And this is what takes me to my second point today,

My country

Yes! As I said from the beginning is Colombia not Columbia. So to do a quick scan who knows where Colombia is? Who has been in Colombia?

Alright, so for all of you who don’t know about Colombia, my country is part of South America. Is the Northeast country of S.A. Limiting with Panama, the Caribbean Sea, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and the Pacific Ocean. I know sounds like a lot of neighbor countries and big commerce opportunities by having two oceans available for trading.

Another important fact is that we are in the Tropic of Capricorn. Do you know what this means? It means we don’t have seasons, only dry and rainy periods, which give us the advantage of cultivating an extended variety of fruits, flowers, rice, and coffee. Of course, as some of you might have heard, Colombian coffee is one of the biggest exports around the world. It is well recognized for its authentic smell and unique taste.

Besides these products, it also allows the country to have a variety of landscapes contrasts. For example, you can go up the coast for a sunny relaxing holiday or down south to the Amazon for a humid adventurous experience. Or to Bogota, the capital, in the Andes region, 2,600 mts above sea level, or East to the dry hot plains where I was born some years ago.

Another Colombian Down Under

How many of you know someone from Colombia in Australia? Well here is another one for your list :)

Let me tell you a little bit about me. I was born in Villavicencio, as mentioned before. This city is part of the plain hot dry region of Colombia.

My mom is a dentist and my dad an economist. I was the lucky oldest of 3 kids. I call it lucky because I like having the responsibility to inspire my siblings in different aspects of their life.

I have 2 siblings, one younger sister who works in digital marketing and a younger brother who is doing his internship and loves finance. Both of them really like numbers just as my dad does, but oh surprise I did pick a different path.

I wasn't that into numbers, I chose Journalism which I studied in Colombia for 3 years. As I was approaching my last year I got enrolled in a Double Degree program where the last year of my bachelor was the first year of my Masters. And guess what... this is how I ended up in Australia, at Macquarie University doing my Masters in International Relations and Communications.

I landed in the magical land Down Under on Feb 9th, 2011. And as I think back it's already been 8 years in this beautiful country and there are several things I thank Australia for.

Australia not only gave me my Masters's Degree. But, five years and a half of rolling burritos in Guzman y Gomez, while waiting for my Permanent Residence. When the PR came two years ago, it took me into the media world that I wanted to be part of. I now work in NewsCorp, not as a journalist yet but hopefully on my way there.

And who knows... I might end up being the voice of a Colombian Down Under, teaching people about our rough past with Pablo Escobar and how for the last 10 years the country has changed and plenty of Colombians like me, living overseas, love to talk about it and invite you to read more about Latin America and take the chance to visit Colombia, not Columbia.

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