Bienvenido a Colombia

Well I am in my home city for the next month. Medellin, Colombia. Before I go any further, yes this was the home of Pablo Escobar and where the Netflix show Narcos was set for two seasons. I am not going to dwell upon this much more. I more interested in this city today and the amazing people that reside here. I have come back to the city to learn Spanish after spending a couple of weeks here in 2016.

The view of Medellin from my window

When deciding where to base myself it seemed like the best choice for safety, things to do and weather. Being elevated but near the equator has given the city the name Eterna Primavera, city of etnernal spring. I am staying with a host family in the neighbourhood Laureles. Not as touristy as the more common El Poblado my host family are wonderful and great at keeping me thinking in Spanish.

The main focus for here is actually to study so I have been finding a rhythm that is less “hectic tourist” trying to see all the sites and more wandering seeker learning and drinking coffee.

So my daily routine is something along the lines of this: wake up, get dressed, go down to the corner store and buy a 27c cup of coffee because why would I pay $1.50 at the fancy cafe where all the gringos are. Go to the gym, come home and eat breakfast.

The balcony where I sit all day chatting in Spanish

Then I head to my spanish classes, I opted for private tutor in Medellin rather then a group class so that I can move at my own speed. My teachers are a husbamd and wife team who I spend about 2 hours a day with, on a balcony conversing and learning phrases,words and bantering back and forth. The highlight so far being when Diego said “ah I am getting to know you” my response ” Si,te gusta” was not correct. I quickly found out I had said essentially, “do you like what you see big boy…” not appropriate for your teacher.

In the afternoon I have been grabbing lunch, usually “menu de dia” which is a 3 course set lunch for around $6. Night times I am trying to cook at home a few nights a week to keep a regularity and prevent me from indulging in restaurant food every night.

I am trying to keep the tourism and party reserved for the weekend in the hopes of keeping some control over my waistline. Stay tuned….

Yep I rode that bus

Over the weekend I managed to get to a salsa class, with another 100 people. Needless to say I wasn’t the worst hut far from the best. I ended up going back to the same venue for a language exchange night where I met a few Colombians and we took turns speaking English and Spanish.

I also took the metro cable out to Arvi Park a beautiful nature reserve up in the mountins of Medellin. By far the most amazing part of this was the citys cable car network. A public transport network linking the poorest areas of the city into the downtown area, a trek that by car could be a 12 hour round trip. It’s this outside of the box thinking that fascinates me about the city.

The cable car system over Medellin

Sunday night I hit up a party with my new friend Oscar which resulted in dancing all night and a bottle of rum. Monday very little happened as it was a public holiday thankfully. Oscar lived in Sydney for a time and now runs a restaurant here in El Poblado called Bondi, serving gourmet hotdogs. Unbelievably there isn’t an “Aussie” hotdog yet but I am brainstorming.

I did feel a bit lonely towards the end of the week and was concerned about the friend making process. Argentina was very social and easy however “living” and having more of a routine based around study means my interactions felt a little limited. However after the weekend’s activities I know I am going to be just fine.

My favourite thing so far hs been the sweetness of doing nothing, feeling like I have time to do whatever I please. How sad that we have come to view this as a luxury. I wonder how you can carry this feeling into your normmal routine because the truth is although life is short, you have enough time to get it all done AND enjoy the process.

Butterflies in the park
Parque Arvi
Some guy on a bridge
Cable car Selfie
Cable car station in El barrio. Some of the most populated and poorest areas of the city

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