I have always loved maps. My fingers often took me to Latin America, an exotic place from the perspective of a Czech. Little did I know that one day I would marry a Colombian man and acquire a special connection with this part of the world.

In 2011, at the age of 31, not knowing a word of Spanish, I spent ten weeks with my parents-in-law in Medellin, Colombia. Since they speak only Spanish, I was forced to learn this romantic language quickly. Every day, my Spanish teacher came to our house and taught me new grammar and vocabulary for three hours. After three weeks, thanks to hard work and knowing some Latin, I was able to communicate.

Colombia possesses some of the most beautiful mountains and sea sides on earth. During my stay, I met the rich and the poor. I visited several spectacular homes and some incredible shopping areas. However, the most meaningful moments during my Colombian adventure occurred when I helped my in-laws take care of the poor at their Catholic church. We sold used clothes for minimal amounts and provided groceries to the poor families. I loved assisting little girls with trying on their “new” outfits. It was priceless to hear them ask us, “Do I look like a princess?” and to observe the relief in the eyes of their mothers when they picked up their weekly portion of groceries.

Most of us experience times when life is difficult or we wish we had taken a different path. We feel sad or depressed. The best medication for this despondency is to be involved in helping others that are less fortunate.

For me, Colombia will always be the picturesque country that gave me an amazing husband and reminded me of some of the most crucial life lessons. Muchas gracias, Colombia!