Trip Start Aug 30, 2011
Trip End Dec 30, 2011

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What I did
French class, English club, lunch, walked around, going out tonight

Flag of Colombia  ,
Saturday, September 24, 2011

With the help of my phone alarm I awoke at six thirty to shower and leave home by seven thirty. Today was my second French class and I learned more short sentences, the first verb group, verb conjugations, and numbers. I feel more confident with French having a solid foundation of Spanish and already having been introduced to the ideas of verb conjugations, noun before adjective, and some similar words. I was so tired today it was hard to keep my eyes open, thankfully an enticing game of Bingo woke me up a bit. Still, four hours in the same seat can be a bit rough. When I was just about to the exit to the University I ran into one of the British fellows I had met the day before. He stopped me and insisted I come to his english conversation club and introduce me to his students. I was quite hungry, but I decided I might as well. There were about 30 Colombians attending this free club and taking advantage of the opportunity to speak English and improve. I have never felt so instantly valued; just being able to speak English makes you a god. I have never instructed a class before but in my small group I was able to do what comes naturally to me and just talk. I meet some interesting people including a sister and brother from another city in Colombia, a professor, an 18 year old from Medellin, and a Marine Biologist. The brother and Marine Biologist spoke perfect english and just came to speak the language. After the hour was done I was told phone numbers and names for Facebook. People are very eager to provide their assistance, should you need it. The Marine Biologist, Santiago, offered me a ride home and after I declined several times I finally obliged. I think that his English made me trust him more, even though I knew I should be hesitant with those sorts of things. He usually lives in the coast of Colombia or Boston, and at times in Berlin with his family (he also speaks German). I was able to direct him to my house and we made it in less than ten minutes. 
I took a much needed nap and then awoke feeling antsy to do something. I had talked to Tati about taking the moto to go sight seeing, but when I woke up she was still asleep. So instead I slipped on my tennies and started exploring the neighborhood. You would I have thought that I have already seen most of the area, being here for about three weeks now, but not even close. I went down residential streets and bigger avenues. I saw small, family owned shops and vendors frying their empanadas. When the rain started to lightly come down I knew I had about five minutes to find cover before it really started to come down. I was making my way towards "Los Molinos" (the mall near my house) but got caught a few blocks away at the gas station. Motorists and pedestrians take cover under the awnings of various businesses and wait out the worst part of the storm. The rain accumulates so fast, within in minutes puddles turn to small ponds and the streets start to look more like rivers. On the surface of the streets it looks like thousands of tiny, silver jacks are being dropped and dancing about. The raindrops create each small, yet powerful splash. I had been waiting at the gas station for about ten minutes when I decided it was time to make a run for it. Only two blocks and wearing a raincoat, I was soaked from waist down when I walked in the door. I did my best to shake off the excess water and then went on. As I walked in I saw an event taking place on the mall's small stage. There was a "partner's competition" testing the knowledge of married couples and boyfriends and girlfriends. I watched for a bit and was able to laugh at a few of the jokes, but not all. 
There are four levels to the mall, each one full of people and stores. Wrangler even has a store here. There is a huge home store like Home Depot and on the opposite end a magnificent theater. I even found a small health booth and purchased two organically delicious bars! The rain finally ceased and I was able to walk home in peace. With a nice fruit parfait in hand I stared scanning my closet for the evenings outing. Tati and I were making our way to Santiago's (my cousin's boyfriend) house for his aunt's birthday celebration. It took about an hour on the Moped to reach the town outside of the city; but when I think of town I think smaller and less people than the city. They were about the same. Since neither Tati or I had minutes on our cellphones we had to go to an Empanada Stand and use the "public" cellphone and pay the fee after we hung up. Within minutes Santi came to us on his Moto and showed us the way to the apartment. 
Uncles, cousins, grandmas, aunts, sisters, and friends were all hanging out and snacking on fried chicharron (pork sausage). One of the uncle's brought me to the kitchen to test out his favorite treat; fried bugs. They weren't too bad. For my first bug I was prepared with a chocolate covered raisin for the aftershock, but didn't find it very necessary. A little crunchy, pretty salty, and a tiny hint of dirt. The Colombians were surprised that I didn't ask for a class of water or soda after. What I really need was some floss to get the last bit of shell out of my teeth. 
Then there was the birthday song with the cake and candle. The four of us (Tatianna, Santiago, Natalia, and I) snuck out after a little while longer and went to see what was going on this fine Saturday evening. Plenty of restaurants had cleared the tables out of the way to create a dance floor for people to Salsa and Tango. We skimmed about ten different spots and when none of them fit the liking of my company we went to a small place that Santiago's cousin owns. It is snuggled next to a hamburger place with Homer Simpson's face on it. There are black lights in all the fixtures and green and red lasers bouncing off the walls. We were able to pick each song and had a great time jamming out until one in the morning. Finally Tati and I got back on the moto and ventured home. The trip home was chilly and my warm bed was so inviting! Sweet dreams!
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Frazer on

Leala! Hows it? I did not know you were in Colombia until my Mother told be today. I am sure you are loving it. Personally some of the things I like about a new culture is food, music, and dress and it looks like Colombia is full of it! Have a wondrous time full of splendid adventures. Write me back, FB, Email, Peace.

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