Where is the gold and the peace?

Colombia Oro y Paz
Photo by Cycling News

For months I had been following the arrangement details of the first edition of the cycling race Colombia Oro y Paz (Colombia Gold and Peace) pioneered by the world-class stars Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana and Fernando Gaviria. The purpose was to put Colombia back on the map of competitive world cycling.

I thought about the thousands of fans who would have the chance to enjoy the beauty of the Colombian topography and varying climates, as well as the opportunity to support the generation of “escarabajos”–beetles in English–that have made our country proud with their success. Continue reading “Where is the gold and the peace?”

Digital Love

Digital love

A couple of weeks ago, I met a girl named Catalina, the cousin of one of my best friends from Colombia; she was visiting the U.S. to attend a conference in Orlando. She is beautiful, successful, and studied to receive her masters from a German university. She is somebody my Granny would call “a good catch.”

When the small talk ended, I asked her if she was dating. Immediately, she burst out laughing. I guess my puzzled look told her I needed some insight, so she took the time to explain what’s going on with the love-lives of single women between 28 and 40 around the world.

The first thing she clarified was that, for the past two years, seldom has she gone out with a man she met by chance or through friends. Now, she looks for her soul-mate as she looks for an apartment, via smartphone apps. And she is not alone. Continue reading “Digital Love”

Endless Love

Amor Filial

Last Saturday I learned about a real-life story that seemed fictional. Two sisters, inseparable according to their relatives–Lucila lived in Bogotá and Faustina lived in Ft Lauderdale–both said goodbye to this world under inexplicable circumstances within a few hours of each other.

The younger sister, Lucila, had suffered a cerebral aneurysm on Thursday, January 11 and she remained in an induced coma. The older sister, Faustina, flew from the U.S. to Colombia on Wednesday, January 17th, leaving her daughter and three grand-kids in Florida.

On Thursday, January 18th, the doctors diagnosed Lucila as brain dead and told the family there was nothing else they could do. While still at the hospital, Faustina called her daughter to give her the sad news. The daughter was consoling her mother when suddenly she went silent. Continue reading “Endless Love”

2018 Presidential Election. The time is up.

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The curtains of the 2018 presidential election theater in my home country Colombia opened officially last week. The possible break-up inside the right and left coalitions are proof that, at least for the moment, there are more players than coaches and they are willing to fight to be the head instead of the tail of their presidential ticket.

The lack of trust among the electorate, caused by the widespread reach of the most recent corruption scandals in every branch of the government, combined with the beating fear of a dictatorship contagion coming from neighboring Venezuela, keeps the future of the country in the shadows feeding the daily drama in the electoral stage. Continue reading “2018 Presidential Election. The time is up.”

Lawless Paradise

Paraiso sin control Xiomara Spadafora

2018 began and so did work and my son’s school routine. However, I am still on a mental vacation somewhere in a paradise of the Colombian Caribbean Sea.

For the first time in almost 13 years of my self-exile in the U.S. and sponsored by my beloved Granny, I had the privilege to welcome the new year surrounded by my entire maternal family in the city known as The Heroic, Cartagena de Indias.

From December 30th until last Saturday, January 6th, I took deep breaths of warm air and ate fish until I developed fins. I danced, sang, and enjoyed the unique smell of the Colombian Atlantic Coast, which is a mix of fried food, salt, sweat, and rum. Continue reading “Lawless Paradise”

Under the Tree

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Last Thursday, December 14th, was the fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Out of the long list of recent massacres in America, this one, in particular, hurts me to the core.

Perhaps it is, because the 20 little angels that were murdered that day, were in first grade just as my son is right now. The pictures of the smiling children, missing a few teeth, and the pictures of the six teachers that gave their lives protecting the innocents in their care, reminded me how fortunate I am. And I thank God daily. Continue reading “Under the Tree”

The Power of the Spanglish

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The English-speaking world takes for granted the immense influence it has over the rest of the world, Especially Latin-American countries like mine. I still remember one of my vacations in Colombia recently after I moved to the U.S.

I walked into a department store with my mother, and suddenly I saw “Sale” signs jumping out at me. For a second, I thought I was still in Orlando, the city where I lived at the time. Now,  the signs were not the news, but the fact that they were in English instead of Spanish, was something unusual for sure.

It’s been almost eight years, and since then, what started as a marketing strategy became a lifestyle in Colombia that will prevail indefinitely. It seems as if the independence that the founding fathers bled for against the Spanish army in the nineteenth century is completely forgotten, and now Colombia is an American slang and branding colony. Continue reading “The Power of the Spanglish”