Thursday, May 27, 2010


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Elizabeth surfs, and her boyfriend Yoyi is an amazing surfer who also gives surf lessons. Yoyi has told me from the beginning of the year that he would give me a lesson whenever I wanted to try surfing. I’ve been pretty content to hang out on the beach watching. The idea of surfing seemed intimidating especially since I’d never even watched anyone surf before. Plus my sources told me surfing takes a significant amount of upper body strength, and I don’t have that. But after spending time on the tranquil Caribbean, watching Elizabeth surf and listening to her talk about surfing, I decided to go for it.

Our co-worker Diana and her friend wanted to learn to surf, so we all went to the beach together a few weeks ago. The sun was out, a great day to surf, although it was windy so the waves were a little rough. Yoyi had me practice standing up on the beach first and then we went out into the water. I attempted to stand up once, and didn’t make it. Not a big deal. As I went to pull the surf board back to me, a wave came and the surf board popped up and hit me on the nose! It hurt, but I was ready to try again. Or at least I thought I was, until Yoyi told me that I was bleeding. Apparently quite a bit! Later he told me that I had a bigote de sangre. So, my surfing attempt that day ended with me sitting on the beach holding ice cubes on my nose.

Another day with much smaller waves, another attempt…. Or rather many attempts…

Me, getting a lesson from Yoyi's friend Alex.

This involved a lot of me falling off...

Yeah, my knee shouldn't be on the surf board.

Well, if I can't stand, maybe I can kneel....


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Misa and Mariachis at the Mall

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Today is Sunday and Mother's Day. I walked to church this morning, but found out that the second service had been canceled in order to have a special Mother's Day service with everyone. But I didn’t know that, so of course, I got there right when service was over. I decided to walk to the grocery store which is in a centro commercial. It’s a mall, and there’s usually hardly anyone there. But today when I walked in I heard music coming from upstairs, so I went to check it out.

The food court had been converted to a Mother’s Day mass! The tables had been moved aside and the chairs put into rows. The place was packed. All the chairs were taken. There are actually random events that are held at malls here pretty regularly. Not a whole lot at this mall, probably because not very many people go there in the first place. Although, I think they had a novena thing around Christmas time… and something for Valentine’s Day. But the idea of taking your mom to the mall for mass seemed really funny to me!

I watched people take communion and say some prayers… and then a mariachi band came! Why didn’t I bring my camera?! The mariachi band took their place up by the altar and began to play as the priest walked around sprinkling holy water on people in the “congregation.” Soon everyone, including the food court venders, was clapping along. After the mariachis finished, I had to wonder… would this Mother’s Day excursion include brunch at the Hamburger Corral? Or PikoRico? Maybe just some soft serve ice cream? Turns out most people probably had better things to do with the rest of their Mother’s Day because I only saw a handful of people get into lines for food.

Feliz Dia de las Madres!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


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While Dave’s friend was visiting we went to a Junior game. Junior is Barranquilla’s futbol team, so of course, it is a huge deal here. Obviously, I’m not a sports person, but it seemed like something that should be done while I’m here. It was fun- lots of people in red and white striped shirts, lots of cheering and booing. Good times. Dave and Ben had to check their belts in at the beginning of the game which led to the belt situation. It was raining when we first got there and I think that might have been the coldest I’ve ever been outside in Barranquilla. But really, when I say cold, I mean not hot. I mean I was totally comfortable hanging out in shorts, flip-flops and a tank top.

Junior won the game. It was funny when it ended because it seemed pretty anti-climatic. They just stopped playing. I wasn’t even sure the game was over. The Junior fans all seemed upset about something, but Dave said they won the game. I don’t know, there wasn’t a score board. So here are my pictures. Just bear in mind that this is sports photography by me...

It's raining!

Here is Junior's mascot- Willie the Shark. He came to school a few months ago.

But Willie had to share the field with the pasta-advertising Muñeca and a giant hand.

There were venders selling yummy snacks like potato chips and plantain chips.

Even venders like to watch the game...

These first aid guys take head injury prevention seriously.

I'm still not sure why this section was called Bloke Central, but I love the sign. I think these really are the priorities for many Barranquilleros. God, my old lady and Junior.

Dave's friend Ben got to practice his Spanish while he was here, and sometimes he would ask some questions. Like when he saw this sign and wondered why it was talking about eggs. Little did he know that huevos doesn't always mean eggs... sometimes it means balls. So, no we don't have eggs, we have the balls to do it right!

Oh right, there were people playing soccer, too. :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Oh, yeah... I live here

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This weekend one of Dave’s friends came to visit from Canada. So, it was a busy weekend. It was fun have someone visit even though it was one of Dave’s friends- not mine. It was definitely a reminder of the fact that I live here. I may be an extranjera, but I’m not a tourist. I’m not just traveling. This is my life. These are the people I hang out with, the food I eat, the places I like to go. I don’t know… it just feels reassuring. Particularly when I think about the fact that when I got here, I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the city, I didn’t know basic things like how to get internet or pay the bills. Besides, I realized as we were telling stories about Barranquilla and school- we have really great stories! It really has been a year of Adventures in Colombia! I’m sure no matter how long you live in another country there will always be things that are surprising or that don’t really make sense to you, but it’s nice to realize that I am settled into my life here.
It’s also good to know that there are only 26 more school days! After a long, hard school year, full of long, hard school days, I feel like I can breathe easier knowing the end is in sight. It’s time to start wrapping things up both in school and outside of school. What do I still want to do before I leave Colombia? Where do I want to go for the last 3 day weekend? I like these kinds of questions.

Elizabeth and Yoyi

Me and Fatima

Going dancing at La Troja- el mejor salsero

Dave and Fatima