The U.S. State Department highly recommended that Fenton native and all other Americans avoid Colombia at all costs, Kershaw said.
But Kershaw was in search of some interviews for an article he was writing seven years ago. A writing contact recommended he meet up with a woman in Bogota, who would be his bilingual executive assistant.
“After being the only gringo face on the flight from Miami to Bogota I exited customs, walked past the military guards at the airport, saw the lady and it became the old cliché of love at first sight,” Kershaw said about his future wife.
At the time, the two were in their 50's, both had been divorce for a few years and they were definitely not looking for a significant other. Kershaw’s article got pushed to the backburner and he spent three weeks touring Colombia.
He never looked back.
“Since she had her work and family in Bogota and I could write pretty much anywhere, within the year I sold my house in California and we purchased a home in a small town an hour from the capital,” Kershaw said.
Now Kershaw continues his writing career in Colombia and is also in the Fenton Patch Local Voices section.
Kershaw said in many ways Colombia is similar to the United States with large malls, fast food and the same style of clothing.
“Forget Starbucks though as this is the land of Juan Valdez coffee shops,” Kershaw joked. (You can read .)
But the country also has its differences.
He said the food is more flavorful, including the beef, because he said cows are mandated to be grass fed and most is cooked over an open flame. He added that social status is more prevalent, corruption is more prominent and things are a little more unorganized. Oh, and the men love to dance.
“My wife frequently gets invited to dance by other men, because she is very good and I think they feel sorry for her because when it comes to salsa and meringue, I have what they call, ‘Gringo rhythm,’” Kershaw said.
Oh and did we mention the women?
“Colombian women are beautiful both outside and inside. Just sit at an outdoor coffee shop sometime in Zona Rosa of Bogota and you think it is a beauty contest constantly passing in front of you,” Kershaw said.
While the 1968 Fenton graduate loves the beef, women and scenery, he said he often misses home. He walked from North Lemon Street to State Road School for his elementary education and delivered the Flint Journal seven days a week. He credits teachers for helping shape his life.
“Fenton existed as a much different place during my childhood,” he said. “I remember police walking the sidewalks talking with residents, raking leaves to burn them in the street, everyone leaving their doors unlocked.”
Kershaw has tackled such topics as , and in his Fenton Patch blog posts.
To join the Fenton Patch Local Voices team, apply here.