My New Home on La Ochenta and My New Parceros (Friends)

It was a bit confusing where I was going to stay as soon as I arrived in Medellin, but after being greeted by hugs at the airport I knew it would be okay! I ended up staying with Mayi who’s also in AIESEC. But, now I’m staying with Juan Pablo and he’s equally pretty amazing.

Mayi and Me

La Ochenta is a main street in Medellín and its always very busy. But I like it like that. There are many street vendors selling fruits like mango, pineapple and strawberries. But also comida rapida like hot dogs and hamburgers. Or my favorite stands, empanadas and panzerotti. And they’re incredibly cheap between 1000 COP- 3000 COP or about $0.50- $1.50. Yeah, it’s not healthy but incredibly delicious. Also, it’s particularly close to all the bus stops; because there are none in Medellín– just wave out your hand.

My first roommate, Mayi was all a newbie trainee could ask for. Kind , generous, outgoing, and happy. She was always there whenever I needed help or wanted to go somewhere. She’s basically my unofficial madrina (godmother), and it was a blast staying with her for a week! She’s made my experience one to remember from the first night of going out and introducing her to 5-hour energy to the numerous helado outings. So happy she only lives a block away!

My new roomate, Juan Pablo is incredibly funny and generous. While I attempt to speak Spanish, which more or less ends in stares it’s a vibrant exchange between my English and his Spanish. Yet I’m trying to turn him away from Lana del rey and Adele. I can’t take sad artists, I need everything to be upbeat and happy! For example, don’t watch the movie One Day; I thought it was going to be a happy movie. Nope. Thanks Juan Pablo.

And for the AIESEC kiddies! They’re all fun, smart, and spirited people. They make this exchange incredible. They’re from a slew of different countries, Eric from Panama, June from China, Katrin from Germany, Laura from Italy, Marion from France, Icaro, Dilne, and Gerson from Brazil. And finally, 3 from the United States: Brittney, Steven, and Sarah. I’m glad I’m not the only one navigating through this unfamiliar domain and can connect with Brittney in falling in almost every crack on the street, or Marion and bargain shopping, and Sarah for helping me with my classes. More on them later!

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine.

-Thomas Jefferson

The AIESEC gang

So, Why Colombia?

To be honest, Colombia is a country that has never been on my radar. Throughout  several years of Spanish classes, I constantly saw and read media from Chile, Argentina, Spain or Mexico. However, there is rarely a notion to study about Colombia and its culture and people. My mission in coming to Colombia is to learn how the silent Latin American country maneuvers within the ever changing and ever connecting global market flow of ideas and processes. Colombia has been given the reputation that it lacks integrity, that it is somehow flawed due to past social conflict. Yet, I’m here now to immerse myself in this progressive and beautiful country and as of yet, I’ve relished in the warmth of the people, the culture, the food, and lifestyle. I couldn’t be more happy.

I’m investing in an experience to produce a life of insignificant fear 

ImageAmericans are in a cycle of fear which leads to people not wanting to spend and not wanting to make investments, and that leads to more fear. We’ll break out of it. It takes time.

-Warren Buffet

Jetting off into Colombia

The glowing lights of the city of Bogota below me were like embers in the wind,  as if it were its own organism inhaling and exhaling trying to breathe in the life and sounds of its own making

The scene at the airport was chaotic, I seamlessly made it through customs and was greeted by 100s of people holding signs of fellow family members and friends. I held onto my baggage for dear life as people weaved in and out of this person who was clearly not from Colombia. I soon made it to the hotel for the night only after passing through a metal detector at the door and drug sniffing dogs. But, alas, I made it into the modern and sleek bedroom just wanting to sleep after an exhaustive day beginning at 3am.

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My first cafécito in Bogotá

The following morning my mission became finding an authentic cup of Colombian coffee and breakfast. I found the Starbucks of Colombia, Juan Valdez Cafe, and it was the perfect start to my day! My elegant breakfast turned out to be a satisfying sánduche de Dunkin’ Donuts but it was all I could ask for after airport food and granola bars