Introduction

Letter to my readers

Dear esteemed reader,

Welcome and thank you for choosing to read my blog. I am truly grateful that you are choosing to read and engage with my humble blog. I began this blog in July 2018 approximately after basically quitting my life in Washington D.C. and moving to Colombia during early 2018. So those of you who do not know me or do not know me well, may be asking what kind of person just up and quits their life to move to Colombia of all places? The story behind this is a bit complicated in typical Amanda fashion, but let’s go back in time for a bit to see where I was in life and the person I was before I moved to Colombia.

I graduated from Rhodes College, which is a small liberal arts college with a heavy science focus, with a BA in Anthropology/Sociology and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. While at Rhodes I studied abroad in Ecuador, Uruguay and Chile and I fell in love with Latin America it became a place where I felt like I could be more myself. Ever since I had returned from Chile, I was homesick for Santiago; it was an incredibly difficult adjustment for me to come back to Rhodes and deal with things there. While living in Chile, I first lived with a Colombian family from Medellín, they became my family and helped me understand the intricacies of Chilean culture, chilenismos, etc. I love Chile, but Chile is a strange and lonely place. It is a challenging place if you are someone like me who does human rights advocacy and research dealing with the historic memory of Chile’s traumatic past, when funding for that is hard to come by, and some of the people who enabled Augusto Pinochet’s violent, repressive sixteen-year military junta dictatorship still have power and clout. When I was there, I knew I wanted to come back and continue my research there. I realize now that it is for the best I didn’t end up going back, for a lot of reasons.

In May 2016 I finished college, thank God I got one of the most expensive pieces of papers I will probably ever get. I moved back to DC and got an apartment in Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights. In July 2016, I co-founded my passion project for victim-survivors of gender-based and sexual violence, The Testimony Project Washington D.C., with one of my best friends from high school and I got into documentary filmmaking. I hustled and secured a production and distribution contract to develop the film, “The Testimony Project” and I did other things. While I loved living in D.C. and still love Adams Morgan, I was not happy living in D.C., and I needed a change. In early 2018, I had met with someone to help me figure out my life and career path, and she had an opportunity in Colombia.

I had known Ginny, for less than 24 hours, and she texted me the day after we had met asking if I was able to meet and I said sure. She had mentioned something about a job in Colombia, so I interviewed with the recruiter, and I was offered the job to teach in Colombia on the spot. There was one catch, I had to be in Bogotá as soon as humanly possible. I had a life in D.C., so I decided let’s see what happens. Three weeks and one day after I had been offered the job I was on a plane to Bogotá. Thank God for my parents, family, friends, Ginny and everyone else who were so supportive and helpful, since y’all it was a logistical nightmare.

I am lucky to have come on the Colombia Bilingüe program as an English Teaching Fellow, since the Colombian government helped with the whole moving process, which made getting settled in here much easier. They helped me get a free courtesy visa, a Colombian bank account and a placement at an all-girls Catholic public school in Medellín. I had wanted to visit Medellín for years, for its climate, beauty, social innovation, and transformation, so I guess as one of my friends another fellow said, it was meant to be. Three days before my 24th birthday, found myself on a flight to Medellín and I could not have been more excited.

I started at my school that week and began being a co-teacher after all those hours discussing and learning about co-teaching at orientation Bogotá. And I loved my school, and still, love my school. I loved teaching even when I had to start teaching at 6:30 AM. But the program which normally lasts a whole year it only went through June 2018, with the presidential elections and transition with the government. And President Duque, did not decide to renew the program in 2019, for reasons that remain unknown to me. From what I can tell, education, social programs, and peace are definitely not his administration’s priorities. After teaching and having a temporary gig here in Medellín, I am now writing and doing digital strategy.

Saludos,

Amanda Draper

 

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AMANDA DRAPER IS THE FOUNDER and author OF the "MI VIDA EN MEDELLÍN" BLOG. SHE IS A WRITER, CONTENT CREATOR AND TEACHER. A WASHINGTON DC NATIVE, SHE CALLS WASHINGTON D.C. AND MEDELLÍN HOME. SHE HAS A SERIOUS HOT SAUCE ADDICTION, SO YOU WILL PROBABLY FIND HER WITH A BOTTLE OF HOT SAUCE IN HER BAG. IN HER FREE TIME, SHE ENJOYS EXPLORING MEDELLÍN, EATING, READING, WRITING, AND HAVING ADVENTURES.

AMANDA DRAPER IS THE FOUNDER and author OF the "MI VIDA EN MEDELLÍN" BLOG. SHE IS A WRITER, CONTENT CREATOR AND TEACHER. A WASHINGTON DC NATIVE, SHE CALLS WASHINGTON D.C. AND MEDELLÍN HOME. SHE HAS A SERIOUS HOT SAUCE ADDICTION, SO YOU WILL PROBABLY FIND HER WITH A BOTTLE OF HOT SAUCE IN HER BAG. IN HER FREE TIME, SHE ENJOYS EXPLORING MEDELLÍN, EATING, READING, WRITING, AND HAVING ADVENTURES.