I am in love with Antioquia.
Ok, first I will begin with Friday. Friday was mine and Sascha's first day teaching by ourselves. We taught the older kids in the morning, organized and planned our behinds off, and then we each had really long one on one lessons in the afternoon. I worked with Luisa, who is a wonderfully kind and cooperative 13 year-old with striking green eyes that you cannot help but get drawn into. During this lesson, I would say that Luisa taught me as much Spanish as I taught her English, and we developed a trust and a relationship through laughing and being patient with each other.
After our day was over, I hung out at the foundation for about an hour. During that hour, Leidy, a 7 year-old, came over and sat with me. Leidy does not speak a word of English, or maybe she speaks 3 words of English. She is one of those children with whom it is hard to have a conversation, and she is so cute that I wish to god I could. Well, the 30 minutes during which she sat with me were my favorite 30 minutes of this trip
pottery for sale at the market
so far. She opened my book, The World According to Garp, and then opened my Teacher's edition of her text book. She started flipping through the pages and asking me to say certain words in English. I would respond, and then she would say "muy bien." I would get all excited, take my bow, and then she would say, "no no no no." I then responded with a funny-face look of disappointment and confusion, and she cracked up laughing. We did this over and over again, and played in other ways too, the whole time laughing hysterically. It seems like such a simple game, and I have played like this with hundreds of kids before, but this moment reminded me of the most important universal language of all- laughter! Nothing beats being silly with a child- nothing in the world.
Now to continue on with my weekend.
On the first Saturday of every month, there is a large open market in Parque Bolivar. I attended this market with Sascha and I could have very easily spent all of my money there. They were selling clothes, jewelry, food, drinks- you name it! Aside from all the purchasing, the atmosphere
Botero is a famous artist from Medellin and his statues are everywhere. They are fat people and animals and things.
was very joyous and energetic. It was a great place to catch some of the less noticeable daily differences in culture and talk to interesting people. I included some pictures from the market.
On Saturday night, I met up with a guy named Pat. Pat is the cousin of one of the volunteers who left yesterday. I met Pat at dinner on Thursday, where we discussed music and decided to meet on Saturday at 9 in the middle of a parque so we could find music that was more our style. When I met him, he told me he found a perfect place, and he was not kidding! The place is called Arte Vivo. It was a large cafe where everyone had tables and nobody was standing. The staff was incredibly friendly, and the beer- well Colombian beer is nothing to rave about. The cafe was decorated with local art that they were selling, but more importantly, the band was fantastic! It was a cover band, but the most talented cover band I have ever seen (except for Several Species, I will have to say). They began with some Colombian music, but they played everything, including Pink Floyd, Led
Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Those three bands were actually my requests- and they played them very well. The guitarist was extremely good at playing it how it is, and well, and the singers, a man and a woman, had powerful yet flexible voices. The company was very enjoyable, Pat grew up here and now attends college in Florida, and we both rocked out all night. Fun fun fun!
Now, on SUNDAY, well that is when I truly fell in love. Perhaps I have said this before, and I will say it again, but I found the town I want to live in (or at least where I want to own a house). It is named Guatape, and it is about a 2 hour bus ride up and through the mountains from Medellin. To begin with, there is a huge rock that nobody can figure out how it is able to be there. It is called, fittingly, la piedra. There are 600 steps that lead to the top of the rock, and around the rock are mad-made yet beautifully clear reservoirs. I am not sure of the altitude I was at, but it was up there, and the
this guy was drawing these incredible portraits with his toes! Finger toes, krugy!
walk was tiring. At the top, I breathed in the cleanest and freshest air I have breathed in a very long time. The view was 360 degrees and breath-taking at every angle. Also at the top, there was a little food stand and a cafe. I had myself my first empanada, and it was delicious!
I forgot to mention Charles. About 10 minutes before I was out the door and on my way to meet Sascha, a man staying at my hostel asked me if I minded that he tag along, since he was planning on going there anyway. Charles is a sweet man, and absolutely cannot be younger than 50. He is probably older than I think, even. Charles is from Michigan and works for the EPA. He is an inventor/innovator of sorts and when he needs a break from the constant work that he does, he takes fabulous trips all over the world. He has been everywhere more than once, Alaska 9 times!, and I absolutely loved hearing his stories. Ahhh, the fantastic randomness of traveling.
So Charles, Sascha, and I stayed at the top for a while, where I sat by myself in wonderment and
just the usual sight around the city.
thought about all the people I wish I could take with me to that sight (especially my family). I watched these majestic black birds (maybe huge hawks?) circling around and imagined I was flying along side them. I wrote a little in my journal, and then got myself out of the day dream just in time to head to the jubilant town of Guatape.
Guatape is on one of the lakes, and it has beautiful architecture and colors. The immediate vibe from the town is one of being content and bright, and one is not disappointed when the town is explored. All along the lake were docks and some boats. All along the lake were tiendas and stands selling crafts and foods. All along the lake were people laughing, people smiling, people playing, people holding hands. All along the lake were adorable little seafood restaurants where the waitstaff spoke with funny accents but were hilarious and kind.
I fell in love with this town, and I want to go back immediately. It is seemingly a town where worries were flooded with the land and the sun shines for everyone. I also tried one of the most delicious treats
I have ever had...yum yum. So, who wants to save some money and buy a house with me? I promise you won't be disappointed!
That is all I am going to write for now. I am hungry and there is a kitchen of food calling my name. There is so much more I could write about everything- including all the interesting differences in culture, but that will be for another time...
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