Published: January 19th 2013January 19th 2013
Its been a while, so I'm going to break down some of the main events over the last 4 months, starting with halloween. On halloween, 11th grade of my colegio (my class) was in charge of dressing up and parading around the school for the amusement of the younger grades, ending at the school auditorium. There, we climbed on the stage and led the school in dancing. I had dressed up as PSY so I had to lead the whole school in the "Gangnam Style" dance. Very un-halloween like, but super fun :) Just like back at home, there were people dressed up all over Cali, walking down the streets, and in the malls.
November, my grade began practicing for a theatrical presentation that my colegio presents every year called the "macro proyecto." This was the colegio's way of adding art to the curiculum of the school. Each presentation represented something each grade had studied that year. For example, in physics we had talked a lot about wormholes, and spacetime. So, our presentetion was focused on space. The presentation included dancing and acting. Also, we had to make our own costumes from random materials with minimal help. People here are super resourceful. For example, three of my friends made very convincing astronaut suits from white paint, boxes, tubing, paper, and white boots (I will upload photos!). After everygrade was ready, we went to one of the stadiums here in Cali and presented in front of the entire school (700 people) plus 3000 parents and relatives and friends.
At the start of December, I had the oportunity to see a soccer game between the America de Cali, and Alianza Petrolera, a team from Medellin. The game decided which team would advance from the "B" leage of colombia, to the "A" league. I went with the father of my host brother, an avid America fan. My host brother didn't want to go, because he is a fan of the "Deportivo Cali (just "Cali" for short) a rival team from here in Cali. The rivalry between these two teams is so extreme that its dangerous to be around the stadium during a rival team's game. For example, if the America is playing, you never see Cali fans around the stadium, and vice versa, because fights will break out and there are often stabbings between fans at games. In fact, at the game I was at, there were 3000 police, and still two fights broke out in the stands, and afterwards I almost got caught up in a riot outside between the America fans and the police (full riot gear). Needless to say the fans don't like each other too much. Also, at my colegio almost everyone is a fan of the Deportivo Cali so this didn't exactly help my popularity :P.
Before starting Winter vacations, my grade once again led our colegio in a day of celebration. The day before vacation we marched around the colegio playing christmas songs. Me and one of my friends, Juan David, led the music with guitars, and another friend sang. We ended up once again at the auditorium singing and dancing (sooooo typicalll).
December vacations started on the 14th, and lasted until the 8th of January. During vacations there was a lot of time to go out with friends, and a lot of parties thrown in the city. December in Cali is a veryyyy happy time, with a LOT of salsa. Starting on the 16th of December, the city starts doing "novenas" which are portrayals of the path to Jesus's birth. I went to several of these with Juan David, because he plays in the band at his church, so I would go to the services and then afterwards I would go with his family to the novena put on by the church. His church worships in the basement of "la 14" a huge mall. It was really cool to see 1000 people getting together in the basement of a mall, despite not having a church to go to.
Here, on the 24th, at midnight, they celebrate christmas. My host cousin, aunts and uncles and grandparents and great aunts and uncles came over to celebrate with us at our house. Also, one of my friends here (from Denmark, also on exchange) named Sander celbrated with us. His host family had celebrated christmas early on the 22nd. At midnight everyone shared gifts and ate.
The 25th marked the start of la Feria de Cali, the biggest celebration in Cali. Everyday the city hosts a different event until New Years day. Also, la Feria is the only time of the year that the city hosts Bull Fights in la Plaza de Toros. My host mom got me tickets to go to one on the 28th. It was a really interesting experience, and I got to see the event as a form of art. For example, the crowd appreciates a torero that displays elegance and courage in his performance. Also, I saw something called a Rejoneador, a bullfighter on a horse. This was actually the most impressive thing I have seen yet in Colombia. The riders have amazing control over their horses (which are also INCREDIBLY talented and nimble). Even if you hate the idea of a bullfight (I too found it kind of distrubing at times) you should look up some videos of these guys.
The 29th, our family left Cali to celebrate New Years with the family of my host dad in Sevilla. There we celebrated with fireworks and counted down to midnight, just like in the USA. From sevilla, our family took a trip to Juanchaco, a town on the pacific coast. The only way to get to Juanchaco is by boat. Juanchaco is fairly dirty, and a poor coastal town. However there are hotels on the beaches that are very private and quiet, and I enjoyed the trip a lot.
And that brings us toooooo today. I know I only listed the main events that have happened in each month, but there have been a lot of great times with friends and the family. Hanging out in the mall and going to discoteca's and going to the Unidades (gated comunities/houses) of friends. I'll do my best to add photos relevant to this post and update this blog more often now!!