Morning comes casually here. I wander into the kitchen in shorts, a tank, and flip flops…it will never be cold enough for something heavier. As I get breakfast going, my husband, Jaime, fixes his hot chocolate. No rush hour traffic, no icy roads either.
Back in Nevada, I was desperate to break the habit of having 9-to-5 jobs, working for people I found insufferable. When I arrived in Colombia it was like the whole world opened up for me, including a lifestyle I love.
The Pereira lifestyle is easy, low-cost, and pleasant. This sophisticated, university city in the heart of the Coffee Triangle is surrounded by lush hills, waterfalls, and coffee plantations.
Even though we live right in the city center, it is quiet and peaceful most nights of the week. On the weekend the music carries up to our apartment and we sometimes enjoy listening out on our balcony as we wind down for bed. Life is casual in Pereira, and the problems of my home country are a distant noise that don’t affect me in my little pocket of paradise.
Our weather can be compared to late spring, year round. We have days where the temperature creeps up towards 85 or 90 F, but usually by mid-afternoon it has dropped back down enough to be pleasant after our 2 p.m. rain shower. I will probably wear shorts, sandals or flip flops, and a tank, almost any day of the year.
I try to only work 20 hours a week as a copywriter…but I earn enough to live comfortably here. Our total costs for food per month is about one fourth of my earnings. I will usually write all morning with generous breaks. Lunch is never rushed…and sometimes I even allow myself a nap afterwards.
In the early afternoon I finish for the day, which allows me to pursue my hobbies. Since I moved to Colombia, I have had time for salsa dance classes, guitar lessons, Pilates, and most recently Tai Kwan Do. I receive massages and get my pedicure done at least once or twice a month.
At the weekend, we go for picnics, and a cool dip in the river, just outside Pereira near the pueblo (town) of La Florida. The water is cold and the scenery breathtaking. Sometimes we can even hear the howler monkeys from up the mountain calling to each other.
A bike route takes us high above the city towards the nearby town of Santa Rosa, where we can look out over Pereira, drink a cup of coffee, and relax before coasting back down to the city.
Two nights a week there is a free meet-up group. Started by an Irish man, it is the perfect place to meet people who speak English and share your interests. I have met young nomads all the way up to retirees who come to share. And I love the pool parties at a nearby hotel just outside the city. They cost about $3 and always have a DJ, cold drinks, and lots of space to relax.
The Pereira lifestyle doesn’t require a large budget. Our three-bedroom apartment costs about $250 per month. For my husband and I to go out for dinner at a fancy restaurant it might cost $30 to $50 including drinks and dessert.
And when we arrive home after our date it’s to peace and quiet I love so much.
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