No Sugarcoating

So I don’t want you to think this is all a bed of roses and I am handling all the differences with no problems. I have had some setbacks along the way.

I’ve gotten lost twice, and it’s highly likely I will get lost again. So much of Cartagena looks a lot the same to me. The inner barrios are full of short apartment blocks mixed in with stores and restaurants. The stores and restaurants sometimes look like homes as well. Probably because they are or were at some point.

The first time I got lost was on Monday night – I took the wrong bus from volunteering. The bus line was correct, but I forgot to ask if it was going to “Campestre” and, sure enough, it wasn’t. After about 30 minutes of riding, I looked for a suitable place to get off. I chose a location at a busy intersection with a gas station, figuring taxis would be by at some point. It took about 5 minutes to find an empty taxi and then I was ok and got home about an hour late, but still fine.
The second time I got lost, or “perderse” (lost myself in Spanish), was walking to Libary’s house on Tuesday for my Spanish lesson. I didn’t walk far enough and started walking in circles and got nervous. I What’s Apped her and she came and got me. Embarrassing. I was 30 minutes late for a Spanish lesson, and she lives a 10 minute walk from Marcela’s house. Embarrassing!

Besides getting lost, I have “lost” a bunch of things in my own room at the house! And then I find them. It turns out, Marcela goes into my room each day and “tidies up” which involves moving my belongings. The very first day I was here I couldn’t find my hat because she had hung it on a hook! A couple of days ago, I couldn’t find my backpack and had to go ask Marcela where it was. She had folded it up and put it under a table. I admit, I am having a hard time with these invasions of my space but I am trying to roll with it.

I also just don’t know about things! I feel very uninformed. At the school, I never know what is going to happen from day to day. Last week, the school closed randomly at 1pm. I asked but didn’t understand the answer why. I would have loved if I’d known in advance and could have planned for it. The same thing happened today! When I arrived, the entire school – plus parents – was emptying into the street to have a school day at the beach with kites and games and such. We returned to the school at 11am and I left at 12noon.

Flying kites Cartagena beach
Flying kites at school field day

Finally, this morning, Marcela told me that Monday is a holiday and NO ONE is working on Monday.  You would think the volunteer coordinator MIGHT have told me this! Nope. So, I am flying to Calì for the weekend and could have flown back on Monday instead of Sunday had I known. I am still going to try at the airport, but why does this feel like keep Melinda in the dark week?! I know. Roll with it!

Finally, yesterday as I was leaving the institute, the sidewalk fell out from under me and I twisted my ankle pretty badly. I twist them all the time, and this one felt terrible. I could feel the tendons tearing inside. It was so bad it brought tears to my eyes. I walked it off and went to the gym anyway, because I was so looking forward to the gym, but it is swollen and sore today. I will get through it though.

I wasn’t expecting everything to go smoothly, and neither should you! Just wanted to share all the adventures, including the not so perfect. I’ll post about the weekend in Calì!

7 thoughts on “No Sugarcoating”

  1. Sorry! You are strong and have a great attitude! (And I a not surprised by that.)

  2. Melinda, my experience in learning languages is that you are kind of like a child again. You only understand a small part of what is going on around you. It sounds like you have a healthy, flexible attitude and are ‘rolling with it’. Keep up the good work!

  3. Melinda! Stay strong, girl. When I flew to South America by myself (not knowing anyone), I had tons of glitches including no place to stay and an allergy to the common detergent – lots of trips to the ER for cortisone shots and prednisone. Somehow, the dark cloud lifted and everything fell into place. If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make you stronger. Big kiss! Thinking of you:)

  4. Melinda: Enjoying your blog and look forward to hear what’s happening. Am really proud of you. Sorry about the ankle.
    Love ya Mom

  5. I might even pay for a subscription, or the travel guide version. “Mel On The Go!” If it will motivate more travel and blogs 🙂

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