So I’m catching up! The blog has officially made it to Colombia! Even though I left about 7 weeks ago it still feels too close to really think about, write about. I loved Colombia. I loved it while I was there and I think it’s possible that I love it even more now that I am gone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that good stuff.
Before I left the States I had made a plan: travel for 5 months, live in Colombia for 5 months and then travel for 2 more months. As I’ve said before, I like plans. I am good at plans. This one was specific enough that I had a sense of what I was doing but general enough that I was able to leave lots unplanned. It kept me from getting homesick. When it came time to leave Colombia I was sad to go but also excited for the next phase of my trip.
When I left Colombia I flew directly to Granada, Nicaragua. Right before I left Colombia I somehow tweaked my back and was having very bad sciatic nerve pain. So that sucked. First of all I was in pain, secondly I felt like I should be 85 years old hobbling around and finally nothing is worse for a backpacker then not being able to walk! I still have some pain but it’s mostly gone now, gracias a Dios. At the time though it was definitely bumming me out!
So anyway.. I left Colombia, my leg hurt real bad and first the first time in 10 months I experienced a new feeling, homesickness. While I love the States and my family and friends there it wasn’t them I was homesick for. I missed Colombia! I missed my people! I couldn’t have been luckier with the group of people I had to live, teach and explore with in Medellin.
We started the program with a huge orientation and had a chance to meet people who would teach all over the country. Thanks to the wonders of facebook I am able to keep in touch with people spread all over Colombia. From that I know that several different cities have formed tight bonds and really enjoy each other. That’s great, I am so happy for those people but no doubt in my mind, Medellin Spring 2015 group was the best. With representation from Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, India and Australia we were quite a diverse group and we got on so well.
As in any group we all subtly and in some cases overtly played a role. There were the quiet ones and loud ones, the good dancers, the DJ, the excellent teachers, the chill ones and the hyper ones. I tended to be the organizer. We had a few amazing weekends – Chiva birthday bus and two hilarious fincas stand out in my mind. Everyone was just game for whatever. Medellin is a FUN city. There is lots to do both during the day and at night. We really lucked out with our placement as well as our group of people. Beyond our fellow teachers we also added to the group with roommates, bfs/gfs and people we just randomly met. The people of Medellin are famous for being friendly and it is absolutely true. I love the Paisas! Medellin is amazing and I highly recommend a visit.
Beyond my English teachers group I was lucky to meet another group of people. There is a park in Medellin that is very popular to hangout and have drinks at night. Open container is legal. There tons of people, mostly tourists but a mix of other too. One of those nights Victoria (another one of the English teachers and my partner in crime) and I met Raul. Even though Medellin is a big city it’s also tiny. We later ended up running into Raul for a second time. He is the owner of a CrossFit gym and offered us each a free month of personal training. I was super nervous. It had been a long time since I worked out and CF is nuts. I did a lot of googling, read reviews and got more information about it. I decided, por que no? Who gets offered free personal training? I couldn’t pass up that chance.
Like all good crossfitters Victoria and I started and got hooked. The space was fanatic. It was in the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle store and bar – which is still hilarious to me. The walls were open so there was a ton of fresh air and we even had a fully grown mango tree coming up out of the floor. It is just next to a nice, quiet park (where we would do my least favorite thing – run) and you could hear the river flowing when the music was off. Using mostly basic equipment (mats, kettle bells, weighed medicine balls, jump ropes, pull up bars – that kinda thing) we did the crazy hardest workouts of my life. I have never sweat so much. Raul, the owner and Jose, the trainer knew how to push each individual person to work their hardest but not hurt themselves. The vibe of the gym was incredible. The biggest sessions had maybe 10 people at a time which gave us a chance to all get to know each other. The classes were partially in English and partially in Spanish. I would walk into the gym and each person greeted me while a big hello and kiss on the cheek. Raul being the huge goof that he is was constantly give hugs and cracking jokes. Jose was constantly focused and incredibly positive. Who would have thought that joining a gym would be one of my best Colombian experiences? And it worked too! I lost somewhere around 25lbs in the two and a half months that I worked out with them. Alpha Kettlebell Club I may never find another place like you but I will be forever grateful!
Photo credit to Raul!
Colombia I still miss you! I miss the idea of living and working in another country even actually doing it isn’t quite as romantic as thinking about it. I miss the dancing. Pues, I miss the accent of the Paisas. I miss all the places that I didn’t get to actually visit but have seen and heard about. I miss working a 15 hour work week and having enough money to live pretty comfortably! I miss the gym, the trainers and all my friends from there! While “Colombia” now means so many different things to me what I will always miss most is the people and the sense of family we created in just 5 short months! Te estraño, te amo.