Why I refuse to watch “Narcos”

Because I’m bored. I’m bored of people only relating Colombia to drug trafficking and jungles.

Yes… it’s a stereotype, yes… most of countries have a stigma…  yes, we had big drug cartels in the 80’s and 90’s, but there are far more interesting things to know and learn about Colombia.

My fellow countrymen and I have had lots of problems because of this. To tell you a few, airports are a nightmare when you proudly show your Colombian passport; you are at least getting stopped and missing your connecting flight. My brother had all his trainers stabbed at Panamá, all of them (so every time it rains a great memory comes to mind). Some friends have been stopped for hours and scanned with X-rays, I saw when someone in the queue had lots of souvenirs and tablets of chocolates opened and destroyed into tiny pieces -“Ok, no drugs here, carry on”-said the officer- Thank you! Lastly… I’ve heard the comments… -so your teeth are white because of cocaine? – there are plenty of silly comments and stories but I’m going to stop here, because this post is not about the bad.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our problems and every country does, although I don’t like news, documentaries and now tv series promoting the bad for years and years. There is nothings else to say? Come on people!

Instead of getting to know about Escobar, I will teach you other surnames so next time you meet a Colombian you can establish a proper conversation with a different topic.

Keeping with the sporty spirit after the Olympics. Why don’t you Google Nairo Quintana? The first Colombian in history to win both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. Have a look at his documentary called “Little Big Man“.

Have you read any Gabriel García Márquez books? His Noble Prize winning novel “One Hundred Year of Solitude”? According to Vox, this book has the greatest opening of any book ever (ahhhh now you are feeling like reading, aren’t you?) If you aren’t the book worm type, read one of his short stories A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and get an idea of his extraordinary work.

Not all Colombians are short, have a look at the power of long legs. Clic on the link and watch Caterine Ibargüen winning the women’s triple jump Olympic gold medal in Río.

Have you seen the latest video of Shakira and Carlos Vives? Let me rephrase it, have you danced “La Bicicleta”? It has a great rhythm and you can go for a stroll around Barranquilla (a city on the coast). Yes, we do have cities and shopping centres.

Nevertheless if your mind keeps calling for Medellín you should get to know about ‘Boterismo’. Have you stumble across a fat sculpture in an airport or a square? If so, you have found Fernando Botero‘s work. We call it “Las gorditas”, people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, which can represent political criticism or humor, depending on the piece. Botero’s sculptures and paintings are exhibited in NY, Paris and several places around the world.

Start remembering other Colombian surnames, like QUINTANA, GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ, VIVES, BOTERO and not even just surnames of famous people. I know many Colombians that make me proud, starting with los TOLOSA, a fantastic family that likes spontaneous trips and have always been there for me. J.P. SALAZAR, founder of the first team of wheelchair rugby in Colombia, promoting social inclusion and encouraging many people with disabilities to get involved with sports, M. GARCIA, brave enough to start her food business in London, D. VARGAS exhibiting and selling breathtaking paintings, V. ALBA and her spectacular fashion at Bendita Seas, talented art directors, planners, engineers, doctors, …

There are many Colombians with an interesting life story, they are the ones that can teach you the real Colombia. Happy, strong and imperfect and that’s how I love it.

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Finding a hobby will find you a job

My 2013 resolutions have led me to read some articles about decision making, time management, career progression and other self-help advice that I thought only worked for Bridget Jones. I read that employers are more interested in what you do in your spare time than in your 9 to 5 routine. That means they look for people with a hobby.

I’ve been thinking what is my hobby? And honestly, I don’t feel attached to partaking in some activity religiously every weekend, apart from doing something new. My volleyball training, candle making and guitar lessons never went further than a couple of months. And socializing, photography and Internet don’t count as became everyday and everyone’s activities. I find it difficult to summarize all the things that I enjoy in a word, unless you say “life”. Hopefully writing a post about it could help me to find one.

Let’s start thinking about other people’s hobbies, that may bring something to mind. My friend Dairo Vargas, when I first I met him he was an Art Director. Advertising was his job and painting was his hobby; 8 years later painting is now his main income. Every three months he prepares an exhibition in London and 50% of its revenue goes to children in his hometown of Huila, Colombia, to a school called “La Escalereta”. He is an incredible human being indeed; my mother says he deserves to go to heaven [of course not yet]. Have a look at his talented work here.

Oil on Canvas, Dairo Vargas.

The moral is…if you feel passionate about something, that must be your main activity, because you will be great at it. You will enjoy spending hours and hours doing it and at the end it will be worth it.

From another perspective, what you do is not as important as what you do for others. That is even more satisfying. If employers are interested in your personal activities, try to do something that benefits others.

Just like you did a week ago, December was all about others, not us. Sharing was trendy at Christmas, we thought of others, we bought gifts, we cared about spending time together. Although, we should do it more often. Imagine what we could achieve if we all start changing the world in our spare time.

Come on Hobbyists! Join me, let’s find a hobby that benefits others rather than just you. If you find one quicker share it with #hobby2013