Heading Home: What to Even Say?

ColombianFlagSelfieIt’s been an experience. For someone who’s never travelled alone until this trip, I’ve done a lot of new things on my own. I’ve also never been happier than when I saw Brian’s taxi arrive at the AirBnB in Cartagena and I knew the alone part was over!

The volunteering was really great – and really hard. I have a lot of respect for all teachers, and day care workers and babysitters. And parents. But day care workers? Wow. 26 2 year olds. In 33 degree heat and humidity and no air conditioning. Impressed. Next steps? Knowing I will never be a child care worker but still love to play with kids and having the utmost respect for those who do that every day.

The home stay was also great. Warm and welcoming people and a different world for me. I definitely got to use my limited Spanish. Next steps? Spanish classes or a tutor back in Toronto. I went to a couple of language exchange meet-ups, in Cartagena and Medellin, and will seek those out in Toronto now.

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End of The Home Stay

Brian is here. My days in Campestre are over. I am now living the life of a tourist with Brian in the walled city of Cartagena.

After getting Brian settled in to the airbnb, we walked around the old town a bit and then grabbed a taxi so he could meet the important people in my Cartagena experience.

Marcela was there to greet us and Libary came soon after, so we got some photos of the whole gang before we separated for good.

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Last Day in Campestre

Today is my last day at Marcela’s house. Three weeks plus three days have flown by, that’s a fact.

Brian is on his way to Cartagena as I write this and I will be moving out of my barrio home to the touristy side of the city with him.

We are having a little “meet and greet” at Marcela’s this evening so Marcela and her family and Libary will meet mi esposo (Brian). I will post photos for sure!


Spanish Lessons

Part of the reason I came here was to improve my Spanish. With the volunteer program, I signed up for a week of lessons. That week is still not complete.

I have now been here for 2 weeks + 2 days. I honestly thought I would have Spanish lessons each day after volunteering for the first week. Why did I think that? Because that was what was written out in my volunteer plan.  Things don’t work the way they’re supposed to – I have definitely learned that.

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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.

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Roll with it 

It’s been a little crazy the last 2 days because my host family just moved. Yes, I know! I got to their place on Monday night, stayed two nights and then was moved to another family’s house to stay while the first family moved. It sounds complicated.  Maybe it is.

So Wednesday night I stayed with the volunteer coordinator, Libary, and her family. Then last night we were told the new place my family moved to still didn’t have ac so could I stay another night? Roll with it Melinda!

This is my new mantra to myself. Part of my reason for coming here was to hopefully change some things about myself, even a little. One of those is my lack of patience. Another is my need to be in control. So here we go! I tend to like having a plan and sticking to it. haha. Roll with it. This isn’t that bad.

So I am now in the new house but it doesn’t have wifi. So short post now via my phone and my local data plan. I also can’t take a shower because my towel is at Libary’s house with some of my other things since I stayed there for 2 nights.

To focus on tbe positive here!

1. The negative is really not that bad! I always had a place to sleep!

2. Shout outs to Libary. This 23 year old works 2 jobs and is amazing. Good thing I am the only volunteer she is coordinating this week because it’s been busy for her for sure!

3. Finally,  I got to the institution today and the children ran and hugged me so hard we all almost fell over. Great reception and easy to roll with that.

I’ve Arrived

It was a long eventful day but I am in Cartagena now!

I took an uber pool in Toronto at 530am thinking no one would share the ride at that hour on a holiday Monday. Wrong! I ended up with two drunk girls who hadn’t gone to bed yet and were hilarious and woke me up for my flights. They got dropped off in Mississauga and I got to the airport with plenty of time for my flight. Gotta love the people you meet in uber pools.

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