Posts Tagged With: Colombians

The Weather Factor & Multiple Sclerosis

Sometimes I am even able to act like a tourist! ūüėČ

I am not able to speak for everyone with Multiple Sclerosis, but in my case, weather is a major contributor to relapses with my MS.  Not that cold is better than hot or hot better than cold or even the fluctuations of the drastic changes in temperature on Spring and Autumn days in the South.  There are days we run the air-conditioner in the day and heat is on at night.  These extremes and fluctuations where brutal to my MS symptoms.  

Now I am living in Medellin, Colombia, South America. ¬†Many ask why an American would leave the U.S. to live in Colombia? ¬†The simple answer – weather! ¬†The nickname for Medellin is The City of Eternal Spring. ¬†For someone with MS like me… the climate is ideal. ¬†With fewer days of really hot or really cold and the fluctuations of a mild Spring day back home (1.5 hours North of New Orleans), I notice fewer relapses while in Medellin. ¬†By no means does it mean they go away, but the severity of relapses is reduced as well as the frequency. ¬†Regardless¬†of climate, fatigue remains my chief adversary! ¬†Even here I fool myself into believing I am able to do more than I actually am capable of.

With a new place to live comes the obvious challenges like finding a place to live, learning a new neighborhood and making new friends.  Moving to a new country adds even more challenges like language and immigration issues.  Fortunately for me, Colombia actually has a special visa to encourage people to retire in Colombia Рa pensionado visa.  This visa is granted to anyone with a pension (Social Security is considered a pension).  Any Colombian Consulate or Embassy in the U.S. can give you the step by step process for getting this visa.  The downsides are: it is a government agency so understand going into it that foreign governments are as bureaucratic as ANY government and the visa needs to be renewed annually. This process is always subject to change especially and now more so because the Colombian Free Trade Agreement is being implemented with the United States of America (which MAY even simplify thing more Рcross my fingers).  I cannot (will not) discuss the political issues associated with the Free Trade Agreement until I learn and know more about it.

Making new friends in Colombia is EASY Рthey are a welcoming people!  But for me, there is the added obstacle to educate friends about how my MS affects me.  One main reason is because Multiple Sclerosis is much less common in South America in general versus North America.  Just as the climate seems to reduce my relapses and symptoms, it also reduces seems to reduce how the local population is affected.  The photo shows, the further south one goes, the fewer MS diagnoses.  Since there are fewer people diagnosed with MS, it is even more important to try to educate my friends how this illness affects me.  My experience has been overwhelmingly supportive!   Just like in the U.S.A., there are many misconceptions, but once I explain, most are understanding AND supportive.

Medellin may not be the best solution for ALL people with MS and I cannot even advocate

Maybe a benefit of a healthier lifestyle will be weight loss! ūüėÄ

ANY one else¬†would find it as¬†beneficial¬†as I do, but it could be an option for some. ¬†Medellin is now ranked the #1 city in Colombia (link below) “According to this year’s study, Medellin made massive improvements in several areas including environmental initiatives, where it jumped three places to rank fifth. In human capital rankings, which consider health, education and employment opportunities, Medellin came in second place, moving up one spot. “We will strengthen(…) the goal of furthering the education and training of our human talent to achieve equity and remove inequalities,” assured Medellin’s Mayor¬†Anibal Gaviria.” ¬†I always mention Colombia’s tourism¬†campaign¬†slogan Colombia: the only risk is wanting to stay and my slogan for Colombia would be: Colombia: it is not what you think… it is so much MORE (maybe I should trademark that? lol)!

*I am not a medical expert of any kind and this article only reflects my personal opinions and experiences!

http://colombiareports.com/colombia-news/news/25140-medellin-ranked-colombias-best-city.html. 

Categories: Colombia, Life, Medellin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Do Not Understand How People Can Be So Damn RUDE!!!

My Multiple Sclerosis has given me hell as of late and that combined with a cold has me on my cane and in a very bad mood.¬† I had to go to Exito¬†( Colombia’s version of WalMart) to get a few things after being stuck in the apartment a couple of days.¬† Walking the streets of Bogot√°, people¬†are not polite and will not vary their course except¬†for their¬†own desire.¬† There are no exceptions – not even when I am on a cane…. they do not care!¬† Two girls between 18 and 21 years old were walking to the handicap access for wheelchairs on the sidewalk and did they care I was on a cane and needed to use the access? Hell no!¬† They stood blocking my way and I just raised my cane and said “Really”?¬† I refused to move for them and eventually they step aside to let me pass.¬† Okay, maybe this was just kids being the little bitches they can sometimes be.¬† But then,¬†inside Exito¬†a woman with a buggy hit my cane as she passed, no excuse me (con permiso) or anything!¬† Maybe it is just women in general?¬† Then a man hits me mid chest with his shoulder¬†as HE passes knocking me into the sugar display and my cane even tripped him just a little as he pushed on by and he gave¬†ME the “f*ck you” look??¬† I have not had to use my cane while in a city this large before, so I do not WANT to say it is Colombians or even Bogotans, but what else would explain it?¬† I am a Gringo, which is old code for Green Go Home referring¬†to the green uniforms the U.S. military wears and the desire for the U.S. military to¬† go, so is that it?¬† Is my being an unwanted American the reason that even on a cane people are so rude here or is it everyone?¬† Colombians in general are a great, friendly and even welcoming people…. but on the sidewalks… there is no evidence of this!¬† I have talked about this with others even before the incidents on my cane and they have all said it is part of the¬†Bogot√°¬†cultural¬†experience and has nothing to do with my being American.¬† But how can people who are so friendly otherwise accept this behavior?

Before any of this, an incident two days earlier may have heightened my aware of this behavior.  I ventured out (on my cane) to my neighborhood coffee shop, just to get out of the apartment.  Zaltan,the owner of the coffee shop, and I were visiting on the sidewalk in front of his coffee shop.  From behind, I was knocked off-balance by someone passing by and when we looked to see who it was, it was an OLD man.  I would say he was over 90 and walking very slowly on his cane.  I guess he was so determined not to change his path to walk around me that he could not even say con permiso (excuse me) for me to move, but it was just acceptable to push me out-of-the-way.  If the sidewalk was crowded, I would have been more understanding but it was not.  His being on a cane I thought he should understand my difficulty walking or standing with a cane.  I guess it is only an American cultural thing to say excuse me when something like this happens.  I respect the elderly and would have gladly stepped to one side to allow him to pass, but my eyes looking forward are bad enough that the eyes in the back of my head do not work like they once did and did not allow me to see him coming from behind me.  I do not know a lot of Spanish, but the first things I did learn were: con permiso (excuse me), por favor (please) and gracias (thank you)!  Spanish for move is simply mover, so even if he did not want to be polite and ask, I would have understood if he had barked for me to move for him and I would have.

I do not know why this is bothering me so much.  I love everything about being in Bogotá but this.  It is the burr under my saddle now.  It has always bothered me, but this past week, it has escalated to ANGERING me!  Maybe because this is the only flaw I have found with life in Bogota that in my mind I have to exaggerate to the point of making it a problem so I can say Bogotá is NOT as perfect as I once thought!  It is the one thing that is making me unhappy here and I see no way it is anything I can change or effect change.  If the effects continue to make me so emotional and angry, I will consider moving to another city to give it a try there.  Nothing like this happened in Medellin!

Categories: Colombia, Life, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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