We were greeted outside our conference room with Fulbright Colombia t-shirts ,tote bags, and moleskine journals, and of course, name tags.
Inside- thank goodness- there was more coffee, along with delicious aromática and fresh (safe/clean!) tap water to help combat that high-altitude dehydration.
Introductions from the Fulbright staff and the rest of the ETAs and student researchers left me so impressed with everyone- especially the researchers- and feeling hopeful about the year!
We were given a security briefing by employees of the US Embassy, which made me feel a bit uneasy about the area of the city where my university is located but which made me feel confident overall about my ability to live safely and happily in this spectacular city.
Then, more coffee- and an offer giant roast beef sandwiches, which I chose to forgo.
After a delicious and nourishing lunch served on a patio with live piano music we visited the ministry of education, where we were greeted by the minister herself and welcomed by her staff, all while surrounded by multiple television cameras. This was a bit surreal.
Feeling a little like celebrities, we piled into a bus which took us to La Candelaria, the city’s historic center. In addition to walking the beautiful streets, which reminded me of a combination between Cartagena and Salamanca, we entered various buildings and courtyards including several gorgeous churches, visited the famous and photogenic plaza de Simón Bolivar, and toured the incredible Botero Museum.
By dinnertime I was exhausted, but we’re spending the evening looking for housing - priorities!