Where I Am Living

So I have mentioned that for almost 4 weeks I am staying with a Colombian family in Cartagena. They live in an apartment in a middle class barrio called Campestre. I stayed with them for 2 nights in their old place, but they have since moved to a bigger and better place a few blocks away.

This is by no means the lap of luxury. Part of my plan in coming here to volunteer was immersion, and living with a family was better for that than living with other foreigners or by myself. This is a simple home with enough amenities but not everything we are accustomed to having. I realize everyday here how spoiled we are and how little we actually do need to get by. I am not saying I am thriving in this environment! I have some internal struggles being the spoiled brat I am. But it’s going OK so far, and the people are so great it helps a lot! Still, there have been a few times I’ve dreamed of checking in to a hotel for a night – with AC of course, including a search I did on hotwire a few hours ago!

I took some photos of the common areas and my room so you can see where I am living!


Without Brian, I don’t need a lot of space to sleep! Miss you Brian but there is no way this bed would fit both of us!

My single bed


The front of the home has a nice “terrazza” and is on a courtyard, much improved from the old place directly on the street. The courtyard is where the barrio threw their party this past weekend.

La Terrazza


Big common area, including a living room with TV, sitting area and kitchen.

Living Room
Living Room
Sitting area
Sitting area


Marcela. my host mother, is a very good cook and this kitchen is a bit bigger than her old one.

The Kitchen

The neighborhood is fine. There’s a lot of litter along the road everywhere here, including by the beach in the historic area. I’ve seen the same thing in China and Belize and even the U.S. where people just don’t respect nature or where they live. I have been warned to walk quickly and with a purpose – sounds familiar to any past or current New Yorkers. I’ve also been told not to take my phone out on the streets around here to attract unwanted attention. So I follow those directions to a T.

The family I live with is very nice. I have breakfast in the morning with Marcela before I need to go to the institution, and everybody casually has dinner around the table, TV or on the terrazza. Marcela keeps a clean house and is a very good cook. There is a blog post in the future about the food here! I just can’t sit in the common areas of the house for too long because not only is there no AC, they don’t even use fans. I have 2 fans in my room so I spend a lot of time there. I feel bad being anti-social, so I try to spend a couple of hours a night with them but it is very hot for me! I think they understand. They know I am from Canada and can’t handle the heat.

Usually when I write my blog posts, if I am not doing it while the kids nap at school from my phone, it’s on the bed or in the living room. So now you can picture where that is!

5 thoughts on “Where I Am Living”

  1. Sounds like you are having an authentic experience and making the best of it. Just to make you feel better, it’s been 35 (feels like 40) here, but of course, we can escape to the AC. Tell us more about the people you are meeting. Sending hugs!!

  2. Thanks so much for sharing you experience with the rest of us. The place your staying reminds me of the environment I grew up in, when most houses had 3 bedrooms, one bath, one TV a phone and maybe, a single window unit a/c…..

  3. As you said we are spoiled but your home away from home sounds nice and thank goodness it’s clean! The heat is hard to adjust to but it will get easier! Interested to hear about the food!

  4. Hi Melinda:

    Look forward to hearing from you. Sounds like you’re getting right into it. Now you have an idea how it was on Avenue O with seven of us Love to hear how you are doing with the children

    Love Mom

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