Hi everyone! I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to write anything.To my people in the United States: I miss all of you, lots. Especially around the holidays, I've been missing the food, too. And you should come visit me whenever you can - it's quite inexpensive to fly here and I've got plenty of space in my new apartment to host people.
Like I said before, I've been very happy overall. I have great friends here, both colombian and foreign, and there's even a couple from Boston that have the same New England weirdnesses that I do. I've been traveling a ton, quite a bit on my own! I really should be keeping better written track of what happens on my trips. Been to desert, mountains, coast...in a week I'm leaving for the Amazon! My friend Charlotte from Bowdoin is coming and we're going to be in Colombia and Peru and Brasil. Then my parents are coming to Bogotá (SO exciting!) and we go to Cartagena for Christmas. After my family heads home I plan to go to Pasto for a big carnival called feria de blancos y negros and then the new semester begins and I start working again.
I just moved into a new house on Monday night. I'm paying quite a bit more to be here than where I was before but my wellbeing has increased exponentially since I arrived. My friends helped me decorate my new room a few days ago and I think it looks great! My job has has included lots of unexpected and last-minuted changes lately, but is almost never boring and my boss does her absolute best to look out for me and the other language assistants and help us do the best job we possibly can promoting bilingualism at the university. I want to keep living in Colombia after this year and have started looking for jobs (preferably in Medellín, actually), and am considering enrolling in a TEFL or CELTA course soon. I'm trying to grow my hair out. I'm also looking at summer jobs and have a few good leads.
Two weeks ago I went to Montserrate with a friend, this time in the funicular (railroad that climbs the hill),and the view was spectacular. After descending the mountain and bidding my friend farewell I attended a language exchange where I helped attendees practice their English (in exchange for free beer, hooray!) and made a few new friends.
In my new house I've been able to cook, which is much more exciting than I would have ever expected, and share meals with my roommate and fellow Fulbrighter Laura. Last week I had the privilege of teaching a pie-making lesson to two more Fulbriyhters who wanted to share the Thanksgiving spirit with their colombian co-workers. A colombian friend of mine, Daniel, tasted both varieties of pie and said they were the best he'd ever tasted (apples and pumpkins are not dessert ingredients in Colombia).
A few weeks ago I decided to travel on my own to Santa Marta and had a wonderful time. I made friends from all over the world in my hostel and also visited a Fulbrighter for two days at a nearby beach where her boyfriend was participating in a surfing championship. I was also so lucky as to see an old friend I had met in Santa Marta three years ago. We had a lovely day traveling the coast in his motorcycle and also spent an evening at the beach catching up after not having seen each other in such a long time. I treated myself to some amazing food and some delicious cocktails. (you can read about them on my other blog!).
Also this month, I traveled west to the department of Huila to visit the famous Tatacoa desert with my coworkers Roger and Meissa and my good colombian friend David. We enjoyed starlit card games in the evenings with some tasty drinks I was able to mix up thanks to Meissa's contribution of tequila, and with inspiration from my talented uncle Dave. We also rode horses through the desert and saw some amazing geologic formations! Perhaps the best part was swimming in a natural pool among the sand. The drive was long, but the experience of being in the desert - where we also tried guarapo- was worth it.