It’s been quite hard for me to write about Colombia because I have so many different feelings about it. There are positives and negatives and in a lot of ways I feel like it was my phoenix moment. I sank my furthest and rose my highest. I think out of everywhere I travelled in South America, it was Colombia where I really learnt something about life, and not just myself. It was a place where I was able to stay somewhere without judgement and expectation, and really look at who I was, what I offered, what I took away, and who I wanted to be.
I will never stop feeling blessed at being welcomed into a family that housed me, and fed me, and included me for four months. The generosity and base goodness in people was shown to me in Bogotá, and I miss my Colombian family every day.
It’s hard to pin point exactly what I did in Colombia because really I just lived. I went and did the tourist thing for the first two weeks, met some wicked lifelong friends, partied, and then went and got a job teaching English for four months. The whole thing was pretty surreal. Anyone that’s been to Colombia would tell you that Bogotá is not the cream of the crop in terms of location. The weather is madness-summer in the morning, torrential rain in the afternoon, normally followed by fog, and then blistering cold at night time. It’s true what they say, Bogotá has every season in one day. I was lucky enough to start my stay in the summer months which span December-February…but after that the weather showed its true colours. I got caught in a storm with not enough on more than once.
Not to say Bogotá dosn´t have its good points, the old city is beautiful. Alegria´s hostel, which I stayed in during my tourist moments, was an amazing old house with old wood that had a lovely homely feel. I´ve recommended it to all travellers. It´s where I met four awesome Americans, a couple of Irish lasses, a mouthy Northerner, and a London chick who kidnapped me and took me to San Gil before worklife reality kicked in.
It was hard making friends in Bogotá though, it has to be said. The language barrier was…well, a barrier but also in hindsight, I was working through some personal things. It’s only on reflection you realise how strong a subconscious can be. I think I needed that loneliness to remember that actually it’s OK to be alone. It might be boring at times, it can be frustrating, but ultimately, you get a lot more done when you’re not surrounded by people. Thinking, reflecting, planning, recuperating… It´s so easy for me to get sucked into being around people all the time as; an entertainer, a friend, an agony aunt, a raver…. Never-ending labels that I put on myself and then think I have to live up to, and actually it’s a choice. I choose to be those things, or not to be.
However, saying that, after a month of this I realised it was time to make friends. I did this in probably the most stalker-ish way possible. Went to a tourist attraction market… Alone. Heard some people speaking English so went and stood by them… Alone. Sensed they were about to move on and practically shouted, “OH HI!!! YOU SPEAK ENGLISH TOO? NICE TO MEET YOU. I DON´T KNOW ANYONE…. SHALL WE EXCHANGE NUMBERS/EMAIL/ANYTHING???!!!”
I am often described as charmingly subtle.
Thankfully these people were just as nuts as me so we ended up having a ravey night together where they cooked my dinner and took me out to a tiny club that played techno all night. Not normally my type of music but hey-after 6 months of salsa I was up for a change!
There’s still so much more to say, about the family I stayed with and the places I went, life however must continue to go on. So, to be continued xxx