Attitude and Guasca go a looooong way!
13.03.2009 14 °C
Life in Bogota has been on the up and up. I would attribute that to a little personal attitude adjustment on my part, but the fact the we have had (and are looking forward to) fantastic visitors, coupled with being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel definitely adds its own spark.
While January crawled by after such excitement in on the Caribbean and in the Coffee Region, February picked right up with Steph and Aaron and then Beth! Marty's latest update to the picture site details Beth's visit better than I could, but suffice to say IT WAS WONDERFUL!! We were able to make it back to Villa de Leyva (the gorgeous colonial town we visited back in early November), attempt to see Guatavita, the lake that gave birth to the legend of El Dorado where local Muisca native chiefs supposedly threw gold and jewels as offerings to the Gods, but arrived minutes after the trail head closed. Instead, we checked out the town of Guatavita as well as Bogota's many offerings including Montserrate, artisans, the Candelaria, numerous street vendors, botanical gardens and delicious restaurants! Looking forward to heading out as tourists again tomorrow when Shelby, a friend from college, gets in.
As for the more day-to-day side of life, it has been a real challenge for me to calm down and just kinda "go with it". As much as I have enjoyed all the opportunities I have had while being here, there were definitely times of frustration, say, for example when the water heater, stove, gas, water, toilet, internet, power or fridge were/are broken. Or, perhaps a good example is when the mattress turned into a giant crater. While a few months ago that would have (and sometimes did) send me into an fit of adolescent rage, stomping over-dramatically around the apartment declaring, "someone needs to take care of this right now or else..." I have managed to find my Om and basically just suck it up. Similarly, my less than ideal night shift as a university professor eats at me a little less and I have started to enjoy some of the work, despite my serious lack of qualifications (I'm pretty sure you should know what phrasal and modal verbs are, and I'm still not sure I do after an entire chapter of them!). Luckily, what I lack in knowledge of basic sentence structure, I make up for in humor (aka mispronouncing Spanish words while trying to explain an English one) and a genuine American accent (never thought that would come in handy). I have even picked up a few new Spanish words thanks to my eager students--Mom, you would not approve of these ones. Actually, Dad, you might not either. Marty's work situation has also calmed down and they have relieved him of his insanely early morning classes. He now leads 2 English clubs for the YMCA two evenings a week and may be taking on a couple classes during the week at the university he was working at earlier this year.
Its crazy to think that we have just over 3 months left in our adventure here. Thanks to visitors when we needed/need them most, we have been able to stay sane (for the most part) and make the best of our time here. We learned to make Ajiaco, the traditional soup from these parts (secret ingredient: Guasca leaves) and I took an impromptu "cooking class" from the restaurant owner of our favorite 'mom and pop place'. We have really made a point to relax, read and not get too caught up in things we have no control over and it looks like its working for us.
As we start to allow ourselves to get just a teeny bit excited about reuniting with life back stateside, we quickly remind ourselves that in addition to the wonderful family, friends, beer, BBQ, oceans, camping, driving, seafood, (well, you get the point) that await us, that constant sidekick, Unemployment, is also there to greet us with open arms. Fearing this dear companion, we have started our job searches if for no other reason than to get to know what is out there so we can kick it into full gear once we are back in CA.
Tomorrow Shelby arrives and just a couple weeks after she takes off we are off to Santa Marta where we will be hiking to the Ciudad Perdida (Lost City) on a 6 day guided trek through the northern Andes/Colombian Jungle. You can check out the trip on this site. After that, we will be meeting up with Marty's family on the coast for an extended spring break. By the time we get back we'll have a little over a month of work with the YMCA before taking off to discover other parts of South America. Definitely looking forward to it all and will try to keep y'all posted on life as it comes. We love hearing from you and all your emails, skype calls, chat messages, etc. really keep us going here. Thank you and keep 'em coming!
And, as always, you can SEE us at http://beyondbogota.shutterfly.com