Leaving everything behind in the Netherlands, to live on the other side of the world with the love of your life. Sabine made this choice in 2014 and exchanged her own house in the Netherlands for life in Bogotá with her boyfriend (now husband) Jimmy. A few years later, the two of them moved from the big city tot the countryside where they live in the mountains. ”Moving to Colombia was a good choice!”
Since she was a little girl, Sabine said she wanted to move to a foreign country. Therefore it didn’t come as a surprise for her family that she actually moved to Columbia. Her husband, Jimmy, was living and working in the Netherlands when the pair met. The couple met at the company where they were both working at that time. ”We were together for about 6 months when Jimmy’s visa expired, so he had to go back to South-America.” The couple decided to continue their relationshop and had a longdistance relationship for about one year. ”During that period, I visited Colombia twice. Once for six weeks and in October 2014 I came over for 3 weeks. I made my desiscion to permanently move to Colombia during my last trip.”
Avocado farm in Salento
The desiscion to move to the other side of the world had quite some consequences. ”I had to sell my house and all my furniture and it felt like quite a big step. Suddenly I didn’t have a house in the Netherlands and everything could fit in two suitcases. Even though there are still some things, like books, that are stored at my parents.” Jimmy did have a fully furnished house, so Sabine didn’t really need much. ”All I needed were my clothes, because I could buy all the other things in Colombia.”’
Getting used to the Colombian life
Sabine got her Dutch diploma’s recognized in Colombia, but it still took her about five months to find a job. ”The first few months I had to get to know the environment, meet new people, learn to drive in the big city and I did some voluntairy work and worked on my blog. So I didn’t sit still.” Besides that she spent a lot of time learning the language. ”I watched Colombian tv, read the onlone news and talked to people on the street. A lot of locals would start talking to me, so I reallt had to learn to communicate in Spanish.” Right now she knows how to speak Spanish and she built friendships with locals. ”If you really want to learn a language, it is really important to practisce a lot. If you don’t talk to people, you won’t learn as fast as you could.”
Sabine has been living in Colombia for four years and became a part of the local culture. ”The lifesyle is totally different from the Dutch lifestyle, but I’ve gotten used to it and that’s a good thing.” She needed some time to get used to the fact that it’s super complicated to make an appointment with Colombian people. ”If someone tells you, we’re going to the movie, it doesn’t actually mean that you are going. When you make concrete plans, it might happen.” Colombians are way more relaxed than Dutch people. If something doesn’t work out today, it might workout tomorrow and it is very normal that people show up late. ”In the beginning it could upset me, but now I am used to it and I realize it is so much more relaxing than the Dutch life. There is always something to do and Colombians really make the best out of life.”
Working in Colombia
Eventhough Sabine is used to the Colombian culture, she doesn’t want to work in a local company. ”The working life is super exhausting and you could compare it to a tv series. People don’t show up at apointments, signing a contract is a complete adventure, you could be fired at any time and the days are extremely long. If your boss tells you that you aren’t allowed to go in vacation, you don’t go and Colombians think that is normal.” Because of the complicated working culture, Sabine descided to start her own company. ”I design websites for entrepeneurs and bloggers and give them advices how to grow their website. Right now I am focussing on the Dutch market, but in the futur I would also like to work with locals.”
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