My experience in Colombia
Coming to Colombia to teach was definitely not one of my ordinary decisions of what type of outfit I was going to wear or what colour I am going to dye my hair. I would have never made the choice of coming to Colombia if I was not feeling impulsive about my next step in life. None the less I made the best irrational decision and was on the first flight to Bogota.
Bogota was a Big city with palm trees. People were everywhere, cars were bumper to bumper. The vendors selling arepas, I found my new snack but unfortunately, after eating them for two weeks I got sick of it. After being in Bogota for training I was on my next plane to Cartagena.
WOW! The heat was so intense that I couldn't even breath when I took my first step out of the airplane. Shortly after, we walked out of the airport. This was suggested by an amazing guy who then became a very close amigo of mine. He is from Cartagena so I trusted that he knew what he was talking about. He said that cabs would be cheaper to catch going into the city if we walked out of the airport. Now, this would be true if we had practiced negotiating prices or waited for him to negotiate for us. I quickly realized gringo/ gringa tax is a real thing. My little to no Spanish didn't help in negotiating. The stress was high but we took the cab and he drove us to our hostal. Driving into the walled city was so breathtaking that I instantly felt stress-free.
Cartagena quickly became very special to me for many reasons.I moved into a house with a family in Nuevo Bosque. The place was filled with children playing football and adults playing dominos at night. They taught me so much about the culture and food in Cartagena. From how to make empanadas to safety precautions including how to hold my purse. I was grateful for all of them.
In the process of all of this, I discovered why I came to Colombia. My main focuses were the students and traveling on the long weekend. My amazing mentor (Co-teacher) and incredible students made it easier to further concentrate on my focuses.
(This is some of the amazing grade 9 students and my mentor that has been unbelievably helpful.)
I am truly lucky to be apart of the students English learning journey. Their inquisitiveness amazed me, they asked me all types of questions without any shame. I have learned a lot from them. I get asked a lot by Colombians and other fellows where my favorite place that I have traveled to is...... here is some evidence of those places.
(Medellín Comuna 13)
Some other places are Bucaramanga and Santa Marta. Without any hesitation my answer was Cartagena. It had t heart. This was my honest truth. It's not that I do not have bad days or culture shock, it's not that they have amazing beaches here or great nightlife. It is the support team I have made. The connections with my students, Co-teachers, principal and school coordinators. The people I met in the conjunto I lived at, and the people I continue to meet here. Colombia is without a doubt one of the most beautiful countries I have explored and I'm grateful for this experience.
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