The day has come, I’m teaching my first and official class this night. While I’ve helped with other trainees’ classes and following their lesson plan, I get the opportunity to craft my own and become Profe Halter. I was awoken this morning by a Skype call from my parents and sister, it was a great reconnect, but I can assume it would be heaps better if I wasn’t half asleep. With that said, the cold shower definitely did wake me up! I’m still getting use to the fact that there is only one water temperature in most of Colombia, and it’s not a temperature I too much like.
We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are
So this could be obvious to a lot, but I never realized that so many people would be staring at me. I mean, I’m going to assume it’s because I’m tall, white, and have light hair and eyes, but it could be how I walk, dress, and speak. But everywhere I go, it’s people who stop in their tracks to take a look at the extranjero. Take for example last night, I was starving for some delicious Panzarotti, so while we were at the National University we took a stroll to the school’s cafeteria, two groups of tables with about 8 people just stopped talking and took a moment to marvel at me. I mean it makes me feel special, but it’s a bit awkward because it happens so often, whether it be the metro or on the street, or where I work. The other day I was practicing my Paisa walking to look less foreign, because I mean this will be my home for the next three months. I was with one other American and a Colombian but their help was of little to no avail . And since then, no one’s agreed with me that I can pass as a local. But! I try harder everyday, and one day I will fulfill my Paisa dream of blending in, until then I have much practicing to do.
The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique.
– Walt Disney
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
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.
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