I feel like I've really gotten into a rhythm with work at the university, and am still enjoying the house where I live -some of my best friends are there- despite the occasional craziness that seems to be almost inevitable in a house with so many people.
Now I want to dedicate more weekend time to traveling - bucket-list entries include Medellin, Pereira, Cali, Taganga, Bucaramanga, and more. I did book flights to Pasto (near the border with Ecuador) and Leticia (in the Amazon) for December vacation.
I'm really loving being in Colombia and may very well stay here permanently, or at least for a couple more years after Fulbright is over. However, I'm seriously missing Fall in New England. They do have ahuyama here which is somewhat pumpkin-like, but you only eat it when you have to, so all of my beloved pumpkin-flavored fall treats are totally inaccessible to me here. Also, we have only one type of cheese which is very similiar to Mozzarella (read: not cheddar). We have no cheddar. Well, in the one super-fancy very-expensive supermarket you can find pre-sliced mild cheddar, but this is really not what I'm going for. Our leaves don't change color, we don't pick apples or drink cider or carve pumpkins, but we do dress up for halloween. I'll be going to a Gogol Bordello concert with some other gringos, in costume of course. Earlier this week I experienced the strongest food craving I've ever had- and it was for a Thanksgiving dinner. I think I'll try to hunt down all of the required ingredients and prepare a friendsgiving here in Bogota.
Next weekend I'll be teaching a three-day English immersion at my university's other campus in PlenoSol, near Girardot, where it will be quite warm and we will spend time in the pool. And, so I`ve been told, eat a lot of food. The theme is halloween, and we're going to attempt carving ahuyamas into Colombian Jack-o-Lanterns. Immediately after, I'm headed to Chile to visit friends and enjoy some time at the beach.
Recent events of interest are too many to keep track of, which is a good thing, I think. I find myself attending a lot of events in art galleries, and every Thursday night after work I've been attending wonderful free jazz concerts put on by the Centro Colombo-Americano downtown.
Last week Fulbright put on what was supposedly an enrichment seminar for us ETAs, which turned out to be different from what we had anticipated. What we were expecting was support in our classroom difficulties and a chance to share with one another what was going well and what we would like help with. Instead, the focus of the seminar was the assignment of an action research project for us to complete in each of our universities.
I took a short trip to Choachi last weekend when the training was finished, where I was able to visit multiple absolutely stunning waterfalls, enjoy a day in hot springs, attend a political meeting (which consisted of dancing, drinking beer and aguardiente and chicha, and eating lechona, as well as a stunning fireworks display, and oh - a few political speeches) with a campesino family - we arrived piled into the back of a truck-, camp under the full moon, help an astonishingly strong and hardworking women care for her cows and process milk products, and eat a LOT of rice and potatoes. You don't find fruits and vegetables in Choachi because of the altitude, and meat is expensive, so we eat rice and potatoes. The tap water was heavenly.
A few weeks ago some of my favorite people and I visited the gorgeous colonial town of Villa de Leyva- I'd highly recommend it! Among beautiful old houses are nestled fascinating museums, and we enjoyed games of tejo, a visit to an ostrich farm, a mud house like the ones I love so much in Chile, and a couple of evenings with new friends from the hostels drinking under the (visible!) stars in the plaza.
The night of the supermoon eclipse my housemates and I gathered on the roof (terrace) of our house and toasted marshmallows over a fire, drank beer, and danced salsa. Some of my Fulbright friends joined us as well, which was a treat. And the following Tuesday we had a surprise going-away party (again on the roof) for Dayana and her 2-month-old son, Stefan, who are headed to Montería; or were headed- they ended up missing their flight. The plan for tomorrow? yet another barbecue on the roof.