I LOVE colombia. Jason Hall (another Madison aiesecer) and I arrived yesterday night to Medellin, when we walked outside of the airport there were probably 15 aiesecers waiting for us, holding an aiesec banner, and cheering! It was exciting, I didn’t really know how to react at first, and I was scared to use my spanish, so instead I just smiled a lot, haha.
But Federico, my “padrino,” which apparently translates to english as “godfather” (but I think it more accurately is buddy at least in this sense, because this guy is the same age as me) made me speak in Spanish! I’m so glad he did because today I already feel more comfortable speaking, and I’ve either began thinking in spanish a little bit, or forming responses in spanish uber-quickly out of nervousness…because today when I was talking to my dad and carybeth on the phone I accidentally kept dropping in spanish words….it almost was difficult for me to think and speak totally in english, maybe not difficult, but it seemed strange at the time.
After leaving the airport we went to eat dinner in a shopping mall. When I was in line a man saw me (and immediately knew I was una estadounidense), he came up to me and was like, “what do you want, a hamburger, anything? I will buy it.” haha, then the girl I am going to be living with, Cata, said, “See, I told you you would be a celebrity.” It was awesome meeting everyone at dinner and hanging out last night…I can’t remember all the names of everyone I met, but I will know them soon!
Hoy en dia, I went with Santiago (the reception coordinator), Ana, and jason to ride the metro…I thought it was just going to be a regular subway because I wasn’t catching what they were saying when they said: “metro cable.” It’s considered part of the metro system, but there are huge cable cars that fit about 10 people in them that go up the mountain side of Medellin. (medellin is a valley, and it is surrounded by mountains on all sides) The view was amazing from the cable car to see all of the houses built into the mountains, in the mountains is where most of the poorer population of Medellin live) On the way up they talked to Jason and I about how el metro cable changed the lives of the poor families living in the mountains, now they have access to basic services, jobs, etc. Los Paisas (people that live in the region of antioquia where medellin is located) are very proud of their metro system, understandably. The view from the top was amazing.
After that, jason and santiago left to do something for his job, and ana had to go home so I met Federico en la plaza de Botero. We walked around, I saw a lot of the city and a museum, and we ate dessert on a rooftop restaurant. As we were walking around I noticed that everyone seems to stare at me, or at least their glances linger a little longer than average. Federico also put me through pronunciation bootcamp, as well as not allowing me to speak in english. For all of the afternoon I spoke in Spanish and he spoke to me in english so we could both practice. He would not let me mispronounce a word and make me re-do it on the spot in embarassing spots like on the metro where EVERYONE was listening, “No, el p de papa, paPA! Let me hear it again.”
They are having us stay in a hotel for 3 days before we go with our families, and I start work on Tuesday, so I will more to update about soon. Oh, and Dad, they were surprised to hear you actually had to go to school to be a chiroptactor and that’s what you do as your full time job now. Apparently here they only have self-proclaimed chiropractors, who aren’t actually chiropractors at all.
Things learned in Colombia so far:
1. Manzana Postobon is the most delicious soda ever, it is apple flavored and we have no equivalent for it in the U.S.
2. Colombia really does have some of the most beautiful women in the world…it was apparent from the minute I got on the flight from Miami to Medellin