Meet Ana Maria Osses, Bogota Colombia to CLE with a Few Stops in Between

by | Aug 5, 2020 | EA Stories, Family Friendly Stuff, Networking & Connections, Newcomer Profiles, Public Spaces, Parks & Recreation, Recruitment & Relocation

Ana Maria Osses’ many moves, including her most recent one from Nashville to Cleveland helped her learn a great deal about herself and different cultures and she has met many wonderful people along the way. EA was fortunate enough to help with her family’s move to NE Ohio.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, and your family, about the places you’ve lived, times relocated and in how many years? 

My name is Ana Maria Osses, I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. Since I was young my parents sent me overseas to attend summer camps. I had the opportunity to go to Canada, France and the Swiss Alps for a few months each time. I was 18 years old the first time I lived abroad. I went to Cambridge, England after graduating from high school. After one year, I went back to Bogota to attend law school; graduated and worked for 5 years as a General Manager of a Credit Union. I got married in 2005 and moved to Baltimore, MD since my husband was doing his residency at Johns Hopkins University. During those years, I worked in Washington D.C. and commuted to work every day. Those were intense years living and working in two cities at the same time. A few years after, I moved to NYC to complete my Master in Corporate Law at NYU.

Ana Maria back home in Bogota, Columbia with her mom and sister

In June 2009, my husband and I moved together to Nashville, TN for his fellowship at Vanderbilt University, and a few years later we had our twin boys. We lived in Nashville for 11 years. Those were happy and fun times. At the end of May 2020, we moved again to Cleveland, for my husband’s new role, Division Chief of Otology/Neurotology at University Hospitals. It was our first time moving with our boys.

Q: What were your first thoughts when you heard that your husband’s opportunity was in Cleveland? Ever been here, what had you heard about the city?

The first time my husband mentioned the job opportunity in Cleveland I was not really sure what to expect since I didn’t know anything about Ohio. However, I could tell it was a good opportunity for his career, so I decided to learn and search about my possible new hometown. To be honest, I was never opposed to the possibility of moving. Perhaps because from living in different places throughout my life, I have learned a great deal about myself, different cultures, and have had the opportunity to meet wonderful people.

Something that really helped me to consider moving to Cleveland was learning about the city from one of my best friends in Nashville, who was born and raised in NE Ohio. We had long talks and she answered all of my questions. She shared the positive things, and also the more challenging ones she experienced growing up. Wintertime was the only thing I thought could be challenging for me, as I don’t love cold weather for more than 3 months. However, the positive factors outweighed the one negative, and we are now here living this new life adventure in the Midwest.

In Nashville with her husband and twin sons.

Q: How were your first visits to Cleveland and your days with Executive Arrangements (EA)? What were your impressions of the city and neighborhoods, places that you visited and people you met?

My two visits to Cleveland were good and pleasant. Both times I came only for the weekend, so those were very intense days. We had a full agenda between tours, meals, and social events. It was busy and fun. I felt welcome and EA had everything well organized. Margie and Peg, who showed me around the city were very kind, knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I appreciated their time and dedication during these days. They helped me to learn more about all the amazing things Cleveland has to offer. I was specially fascinated by the cultural life: museums, Broadway shows, and the Cleveland Orchestra. I love art, so I was excited to learn as much as possible about interesting things to do in the city. I think EA did a wonderful job to give us as much information as possible and we decided to accept the offer and relocate.

Q: Then in May 2020, you were in a new town during a pandemic. Describe your typical days, challenges, and unforeseen gifts ? What was on your to-do list while you were in temporary housing, and what resources helped you?

Honestly, it was not easy to move in the middle of a pandemic. Planning was key. Having movers pack your belongings without knowing how careful they have been in their daily lives was very stressful, especially having two young kids. For this reason, we moved first to an Airbnb in Nashville to keep our kids safe while the movers were in our house. My husband spent some time with the movers and used appropriate PPE. This part was also challenging, not only was this my first experience moving with two 7 year old boys, but it was difficult to help them understand and have them follow the needed precautions, wearing masks, washing hands and keep 6-feet from others during the COVID era.

Regarding our arrival to Cleveland, initially we thought that we would arrive to a hotel, but with COVID everything changed. We changed our plans to stay in an Airbnb while the moving company brought our things into our home to reduce exposure for myself and our sons. Because of my time with EA, I had a good idea of where to stay and key locations with grocery shopping nearby and easy access to other essential needs.

After my time with EA seeing and looking forward to experiencing the amazing parts of the city, University Circle museums, Severance Hall and Playhouse Square, due to COVID-19 all was on hold. However, we have taken great advantage of the amazing outdoor scene; hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, water related activities. As I was settling in, I reached out to EA for connections to a Clevelander who also grew up in Bogota and for recommendations on services. They immediately sent me all the information I needed and even more!

Q: What one piece of advice might you share with someone who hears that the job is in Cleveland? Is there anything else that we can do to make you feel connected and help you settle in?

My first advice to someone who is moving to Cleveland would be to do it during the summer season. The weather is beautiful, and it allows people to be outdoors and enjoy many fun activities. No matter if the person likes the winter season, I believe anyone would enjoy exploring the lake, the Cleveland Metroparks, the different playgrounds, and having a lovely meal alfresco.

Ana Maria strawberry picking with the boys.

People in Cleveland are kind, genuine and they really try to help new residents. Parents from my new kids’ school, University School, and partners from my husband’s job have been fabulous at inviting us to different activities, and making us feel at home. We feel welcome, happy and are excited experiencing new adventures.