What’s Medellín really like?

“Buenas, como le va?” I say to the taxi driver as I enter his cab. That’s a common way to greet someone in Spanish. I have always always been a talkative individual with a sincere curiosity to learn about others. Five minutes into our conversation, the cab driver asks me where I’m from, “de dónde eres, tu no eres Paisa verdad?”. Paisa is what Colombians call the people from Antioquia. I laughed and asked how he noticed and where he thought I was from. The differences in our accents and vocabulary were far too different for me able to pass for a Paisa. My Mexican ancestry rests far too heavily on my tongue to go unnoticed. I explain to the taxi driver that I am a first generation Mexican born in the United States. Being the prideful Paisa that he appeared to be, he asks me, “amañado?”. By this he means, “are you enjoying it here?”. I respond in Spanish by saying definitely!

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As an Arizona native from the Phoenix-metropolitan area, you become so accustomed to 100-degree Fahrenheit forecasts that you begin to take pride in your ability of being able to withstand such intense heat, constantly. Being from a desert state I never really had an opportunity to live in 70-85-degree weather on a daily basis. Day in and day out the climate showers us with rain for ten minutes and provides us with the necessary weather to be able to enjoy a walk in the park and converse with anyone with a smile on their face. It is the city of eternal spring, after all. Medellín is an amazing city because of the pride that the Paisas have for their city. They welcome foreigners with open arms and want you to have a great experience. They want to share their stories and they want you to share yours.

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In addition to the unique weather and amazing people, the city sits inside a geographical beauty. Mountains are laid out all around the city showcasing an amazing and unique sight that can only be found in the city of Medellín. The tourist places such as Plaza Botero and the botanical garden are a prime example of two very distinct places that embody what Medellín truly is, an urbanized metropolis with a dash of nature growing alongside the sidewalks and within the hearts of its residents.

Photo 1. based on MEDELLÍN , by Iván Erre Jota, CC BY -SA 2.0

Photo 2. by Jose Pardo

Photo 3. by Jose Pardo

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Jose Pardo

Jose is a rising senior at Arizona State University. He is currently pursuing a degree in Urban Planning with a minor Chicano/a, Latino/a Transborder Studies. He grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where conversations about homelessness and immigration have always made a large majority of the population feel uncomfortable. Nonetheless, these two topics have always interested Jose and have played a significant role in the molding his my identity. With his degrees, Jose intends to make safer and better planned cities that will help alleviate the pain many feel from inadequately planned cities and poor-living conditions.

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