Tag Archives: PriceSmart

Ten Surprising Facts About Shopping in Colombia

I am not much of a shopper. I find the whole process a little intimidating. In spite of this, I’m a bit of a clothes hog and a total nester, as well as an admitted sucker for beautiful design.

One of Barranquilla's primary "big box stores" - a Super Almacen Olimpica (SAO).

One of Barranquilla’s primary “big box stores” – a Super Almacen Olimpica (SAO).

There’s no doubt I like owning nice stuff. If you add the fact that I have lived most of my adult life on my own at a nonprofit salary, then it becomes (maybe) a little understandable that I developed some semi-unconventional shopping habits. For years, I craigslist-ed my way into great furniture, bargain-binned into fancy clothes, and spent all the rest of my money traveling and moving to new places. I thought I had the whole shopping thing figured out — and then I moved to Colombia. Below, are ten facts that took me off guard as I learned to navigate the shopping landscape in Barranquilla. For more shopping specifics, be sure to also click on my Leap Sources page.

1. Generally speaking, imports are really expensive.

Imports are heavily taxed. Now that the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) is in force, tariffs are being reduced or eliminated entirely from various categories of US imports. Continue reading

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Ten Ways that Parenting in Colombia is Different than in the U.S. (Part 1)

On a Colombian adventure.

On a Colombian adventure.

A recent email exchange with a friend made me think a lot about the decision my husband and I made to relocate to Colombia even though our son was only one year old at the time. (Marcello turned two just a few days ago; we have been in Barranquilla about 10 months now.) My friend paid me the wonderful compliment of telling me that I have a sense of adventure and flexibility that she feels is too often missing in today’s parenting. She also said that the most important thing is that our children feel (and are) loved and safe, and that my blog reminds her that it’s great to expose your child to new experiences even if the initial days are a hassle and a lot of things are different.

I agree with my friend – the most important thing is that my son is loved and safe – and I also firmly believe that the benefits of our family’s move to Colombia greatly outweigh the downsides. That being said, I would be totally disingenuous if I pretended that our transition to Colombia doesn’t occasionally bring some of those, “Oh, this is not good…” parenting moments.

In the interest of those with young ‘uns who might be considering an international move or other leap of faith – and perhaps in the interest of clearing my own conscious (Guilty Mama, as the Runaway Mama would say) – I write to share with you a few of the downsides, a few of the upsides, and why I believe the latter win out overall. Continue reading