Saturday, March 28, 2009

COLOMBIA: American's Dream Comes True

Gary Parkosewich reports from Colombia.

For those looking for a little slice of heaven on Earth, look no further than the little-known country of Colombia.

My name is Gary Parkosewich and I recently graduated in journalism –– specializing in broadcasting –– from the University of Connecticut. I’m a big dreamer and I always follow my heart, and right now my heart is in Colombia

The story as to how I fell in love with Colombia started last year. I was given the opportunity to travel to Medellín in May for two weeks, and since I had heard some great things about Colombia – especially as to how safe it had become – I decided to take it.

But even though I had heard so many good things about Colombia, I was just like the average gringo and still a little skeptical about it. I knew I would still enjoy myself down in Medellín but I had absolutely no idea that I would fall in love with it the way that I did.

Medellin in the Valley of Aburra

When I first arrived in Medellín, I had realized that Colombia was the one place in my life I had been always searching for, from its breathtaking landscape, to the warm weather, to the delicious food, and to – of course – the beautiful women. Most importantly though was the genuine, warm compassion I received from Colombia’s admiringly humble people that is unlike anything I have experienced in my life, and since then, not one day has not passed where I have not stopped thinking of Colombia. The effect that the country had on me had changed me so much that it inspired me to move to this country and begin a new life here.

When I returned to the United States after those two wonderful weeks in Medellín, I remember feeling happy of the fact that I had discovered the most wonderful place in the world yet sad at the fact that I had left it. Either way, I had become obsessed with Colombia, constantly dreaming of returning. Anytime I listened to music, I no longer listened to my collection of rock music. Instead, I began listening only to vallenato, salsa and reggaeton.

And then, the worst thing that happens to almost every human being had happened to me, and for many months, I did not think that I would be able to visit Colombia again. I would spend at least a half hour every night before going to bed staring at a panoramic picture I had taken of Medellín, pretending that I was standing in that same spot again, feeling the warm air wrap itself around my body while admiring every little green curve and dent of the mountains.

The flowers bloom in the city of Medellin, Colombia

It was during this time I also tried to give-up my dream of returning to Colombia. I tried to stop listening to vallenatos, and I even considered dropping my intermediate Spanish II course, since I did not see the point of trying to study the language of a country I was no longer going to see.

And then, the strangest things started to happen: signs began appearing; doors began opening; and something in my heart began to tell me to not forget about Colombia just yet; to keep studying Spanish, to always keep Colombia in my mind, for an opportunity to return will come; just be patient. I even began seeing patterns of yellow, red and blue –– the pattern of the Colombian flag –– pop up in the most oddest of places.

Eventually, through my roommates, I began to meet friends who were friends of many latino people, some of them Colombian. Through these friends I began to bring Colombia back into my life to the fullest extent.

It was during this time period that I met my best friend, and travel companion to Colombia, Jorge Aguilar. Jorge grew up in Medellín and moved to the U.S. with his family when he was 13.

Jorge visited Medellín again for many months last year, and not only was he there at the same time I was, but he was also staying very close to the barrio (neighborhood) I had been staying in and even walked through the same little park that I used to walk through almost every morning to get breakfast. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had crossed each other’s paths during my two weeks in Medellín.

I have learned more about Spanish and Colombian culture more from Jorge than I have from any other person. Our thoughts, views and values on life are very much the same; the only major difference being is that he’s an Independiente Medellín soccer fan while I like Atlético Nacional, the cross-town rival.

But much thanks to Jorge, it wasn’t until a few days before my college graduation where I had begun to seriously consider the idea of returning to Colombia; this time with him and another good Colombian friend of mine, Randy (who is also a broadcast journalist like me, and an excellent one too) but things unfortunately didn’t work out with Randy, so it then became just me and Jorge.

There were times I began to question returning there but I began to notice that every time I had hit a brick wall, another door would suddenly open for me. I do not know exactly what is waiting for me down in Colombia, but I do know that it is something special; something that will impact my life in the most positive way.

Our itinerary goes as follows: Jorge and I will arrive in Bogotá on Oct. 16 and we’ll stay there for about a week (maybe more, maybe less; it all depends on what’s going on). Since I haven’t visited Bogotá yet, I would love to take in some of the sights, not to mention meet some new friends I have already made there. Then, once we’re done with Colombia’s capital, we’ll head to Medellín where we’ll stay for the remainder of the trip.

Once we're in Medellín, we may travel to nearby towns such as Manizales, Pereira, Montería, Guatapé, Santa Fe de Antioquia, etc. All we know is that we have lots of options and lots of adventures to look forward to. Most of our time, however, will be spent in Medellín, and I could not have asked for a better guide than Jorge who knows the city street-by-street.

Guatapé, a great weekend getaway in Medellin.

Since I graduated in journalism, specializing in broadcasting, I will be making some video news stories for my demo tape, which all will be posted here in this blog. In the meantime, I’ll also be pursuing some journalism opportunities there. My dream job, right now, would be to work as a broadcast journalist in Colombia.

My goal in life is to be happy, and from what I’ve already seen in Colombia, I already know that I can live a very happy life there. Money, to me, isn’t as important, and that’s the way it is for many Colombians. I remember one good man say to me in Medellín, “Soy pobre pero soy feliz en mi corazón” (I’m poor but I’m happy in my heart), and to me, that’s the way life should be lived.

Articulo en español, (haga clic aquí)

Gary Parkosewich en Noticias RCN en Ingles
Gary Parkosewich, es el nuevo presentador de noticias RCN en inglés que viajó desde Connecticut Estados Unidos para cosechar éxitos en Colombia “me siento muy feliz de estar en Colombia compartiendo al mundo las noticias locales, para mí no fue difícil tomar la decisión de empezar este nuevo reto en mi vida porque me encanta Colombia, es sin lugar a dudas uno de los mejores lugares para vivir.

El gringo más colombiano de Nuestra Tele ahora celebra con su nuevo equipo de trabajo el gran torrente de visitas diarias través de nuestro portal y TVCOLOMBIA llegando a más televidentes a través de dos emisiones una a las 11:30 am después de Cura para el alma y la otra después de Francisco el matemático a las 6:00 pm, Bienvenido Gary a Nuestra Tele.

Discover The Transformation Of Medellin, Colombia

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