As this is the first weekend I’ve had off since arriving in Colombia 3 weeks ago, I figured now was the perfect time to start my blog (my apologies to those who’ve been waiting.) So just to recap, I arrived in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, on January 4th. I spent two weeks there with the other volunteers for an intensive orientation. We took Spanish classes, got lessons on Colombian culture and safety, sat through hours of TEFL training, and even got to sample teach at a bilingual school. At times we all felt like we were on information overload, but for the most part the training was very useful. The best part of those two weeks, though, was getting to know the other volunteers. What a wonderful and impressive group of people! We all bring different skills and experiences to the table, and ultimately we all came for the same reason: to make a difference in a developing country through teaching English. Most of us also came with the goal of learning Spanish and with the desire to truly immerse ourselves in a Latin American culture. Now we’ve all split into our various sites (Cartagena, Isla Barú, Manizales, Quindio, and Barranquilla) and even though I miss being with the group I’m happy to be on the coast and I’m sure everyone is going to have an amazing year.
I’ve been in Barranquilla, Colombia for a full week now. Bogotá was an impressive city (check out my Facebook album if you haven’t seen it yet: If You’re a 5 in the US, You’re a 5 in Colombia) but I LOVE Barranquilla. Coastal Colombia is so different from the interior. I feel like I’m living on a tropical island. It actually reminds me a lot of Puerto Rico. Not to mention the fact that costeño Spanish involves swallowing S’s and using words like guineo and embuste – sound familiar? So to all of you who thought I’d come back with a Colombian accent, it turns out I’ll be talking like a costeña, which essentially means I’ll sound Puerto Rican! LOL. So, a quick list, since you all know I love lists:
Favorite Things About Barranquilla So Far
- My host mom Margarita, who is downstairs right now making us blackberry smoothies
- My host sister Katherine, who’s been teaching us how to talk like Barranquilleros (this involves using “super” and “full” a lot – as in “FULL-rico”)
- The Caribbean breeze that makes 90 degree weather feel pleasant
- The beaches
- The fruit man on the corner who makes yummy malteadas de guineo (banana shakes) and gives me free samples
- The empanada man who travels the neighborhood with his cart full of empanadas, arepas, and papas rellenas
- My awesome co-workers from Aliarse, the organization running community classes at Pies Descalzos after school.
- Chivas. These are multi-colored buses open on the sides and filled with benches. Add the Carnaval musicians in back, a few bottles of Ron Medellin, and aforementioned awesome co-workers, and you’ve got a serious party bus!
And a shot of the musicians:
Well folks, that’s all for now. Thanks for reading! 🙂