The other day, I passed my two month anniversary. Yes, I have been in Colombia now for two months. So I thought instead of introducing you to restaurants or people, I’d write from the heart and tell you about myself.
So how have I been doing? Overall very well. It is definitely the best move and I haven’t looked back once. But I’m also in a state of transition as I adjust to my new environment. Yes, I have been here loads before, and have lots of family here, but I have never lived in a place as an adult in quite the same capacity. I am also starting to look forward to getting my life sorted and getting a job so I can get some independence and really feel like I’m living like a local.
Until then, I am loving life and taking each day as it comes. I have been learning lots of Spanish but there are still times when I’m in large groups and my mind starts to lose concentration and wonder. This is when I feel detached from the family group like an observer watching a programme with the volume turned off. So I just go make a cup of tea and switch on an episode of The Big Bang Theory to make me feel at home. I still haven’t got my iPhone set up yet with a Colombian network, so am left with a rather antiquated mobile with bad reception and repetitive strain injury from the effort it takes to text someone. This will also explain my ‘on/off’ bogging. It’s a bit hard to write, tweet, Facebook without wifi, so apologies for my absence. I hope you’ve missed me? I’ve missed you.
Especially you, my parents and friends….and food. That’s what I miss most about the UK. I speak to my mum daily and try to speak to one friend a week. This is by far easier when I’m not working as the six hour time difference means that I’m tucking into my frijoles for lunch, whilst my friends are cooking their dinners after a long day at work. I expect I will look back on these small things when I’m working and think how blooming lucky I was! I have started to make friends here in Colombia, and I am definitely making the effort. Thankfully, the Colombian spirit of introducing you to people and their immediate warmth makes making friends easier than in the UK. I once wrote that these types of friendships usually happen in the pub back home… after far too many glasses of wine and a drunken story that bounds you together through sheer embarrassment.
So I have been learning Spanish during the day, writing my blog, reading, and travelling around. My self-imposed ‘mini-retirement’ is coming to an end and I have loved it. Before you ask, yes I do have plans to travel further afield that family fincas. I have an idea to go on a little trip before I start working. It will be a couple of nights in Medellin (where I have family), a week in the Zona Cafetera (where the coffee is grown) followed by a couple of nights chilling in my aunt’s apartment in Santa Marta. I plan to go alone, as I honestly have never travelled alone before. The whole backpacking the world experience completely bypassed me. I also plan to buy a car. Yes, that’s right, I will be driving in Colombia. For those of you from Colombia, or have been to Colombia, you will know that driving here is completely mental. I mean insane. So much so, that I will tell you about it in more detail as a blog post. Yes, it deserves that much attention.
I also have a plan to buy a bread maker. Hmmmm, I mentioned that I miss the food from home (mind wonders off…). Good bread seems to have bypassed the Colombian market. Yes, there are specialist, posh shops around that will happily sell you bread for the price of a restaurant’s main course, but in the local supermarkets, the standard bread is pretty dismal. So, I had a brainwave. Buy a bread maker. Yes, I think this will be a decent solution to having a simple ham and salad sandwich we take for granted. God, I miss Hovis. And biscuits. And pretty much anything from Waitrose. But, my tea consumption has gone up tenfold. I have feeling I will also lose this when I start working too. Electric kettles don’t really exist here….After boiling my water in a pan for the first few days on arrival, I was handled a kettle for the cooker. This was a leap in evolution.
So, if you know anywhere which sells British food in Bogota, please let me know. My fab friends from home are sending me some goodies, but I have not seen a Colombian postal service. I haven’t seen a post office either. I have no idea how to send or receive letters, or where to buy stamps. The porteria handed me a letter once (from the Registraduria), but I have no idea how it go there; bike, van, horse?
For all its advancements and progression in the world economy, there are still lots of things that make Colombia stuck in its way. Like for example, a horse and cart pulling rubbish outside an apartment building so swanky, Blair Waldolf would have felt at home. Yes, it’s going to be interesting when I start working. I can’t wait to share with you my experiences.
Thank you for joining me along on the ride.