I’ve been in Bogota for a little over two weeks now, and since so much has happened in my life, I figured that now is a good time for a blog post!
Life in Dallas
First, my time in Dallas, TX was great. I had a really wonderful time with my Granny (Dad’s Mom) and Nai Nai (Mom’s mom). I stayed with each of them for 4 days which made sense logistically (since I didn’t have a car) and because I wanted to get a LOT of time with them! We mostly just spent time talking about my travels, about their own travels, or just hanging out.
Now that my life is much busier, I find myself fondly reminiscing of my time with them because it was so calm and tranquil. I didn’t have anything to do for pretty much any day, and it’s nice to live like that! If I was retired, I think I would want that. I might have to have a rule like only 2 things max per day to do!
The other thing I’ll mention is that they both (and my parents too) showed me so much hospitality. What I mean by hospitality is that they went out of their way to specifically bless me when I came to visit their “place”. They got me my favorite fruit, cooked me my favorite meals, got me my favorite chips (chex mix, goldfish, and bbq chips), bought little coffee keurigs even though they don’t use them, had super nice bathroom supplies for me (that I would never buy for myself), and, to a large extent, adapted their time schedules to mine and what I wanted to do (like teach English!). It was incredible and humbling and something that “hit me” for some reason. It made me want to do my own hospitality practice here in Bogota for Couchsurfers, for those of you familiar with the website. (Update: already done it!!)
Life in Bogota
I really like the city of Bogota. It is full of people and with a population of 8 million, it’s their version of New York – except with less-good public transportation. The TransMilenio (kind of their version of express bus, because they have their own lanes) is not bad, and it’s affordable. I mean, my bike is free, but sometimes I have to travel like 45 minutes to the person’s house and instead, I just take the bus.
They also have regular buses, but those kind of suck because they compete with cars in those lanes and are always stopping to pick people up, etc. So what do you get when you have a city with a huge population? Trash. People who mind their own business. People who want to connect but are hesitant to rush into that because they don’t trust you. Congestion. People who are living their day-to-day! You get different neighborhoods all over the place! Side note: I’m in a good area but 1 block away from a “not great” area lol.
I love it!
I don’t think I realized how much I love big cities until I lived away from them for a long time and yeah, they’re quite different. I just love the realness of them, with the trash and mess and people in a hurry and people too busy to spy on you and don’t give a crap about your personal life. Also, if you need something, they are there for you. I haven’t had really chemistry with fellow foreigners, but I have felt connections with Colombians!
As you may know from facebook, my studio apartment is superrrrrr nice. I did have to put quite a few expenses up front like my visa or stuff to live in my apartment (my studio had literally nothing in it except a half bar of soap and a broom).
I’ve felt a little stressed about money because of that. I’ve been feeling all the feelings when you drop a lot of money – not buyer’s remorse, but like a feeling that I’m living too extravagantly, that I overextended myself with this lifestyle that I’m now stuck with until December, that I’ve trapped myself into a very costly way of life, that I’m now dependent on my (two) jobs and that’s irresponsible.
I’ve only gotten 11 hours of teaching so far, and I’m supposed to have 22 hours/week. I understand that in the beginning, they’re still trying to confirm with people about scheduling classes and such, so I expect to be getting my “full schedule” of about 22 teaching hours a week, but even then, people cancel and it’s not a big deal – for them. It’s kind of a big deal for me since I don’t get paid if I don’t teach, and I need that money! LOL.
Luckily for me, I am able to teach English online which pays pretty well. Without it, I would be sooooo screwed monetarily! I am very grateful for this opportunity to teach online and I think I do a good job. My feelings regarding my teaching English jobs go in waves, as probably all of my feelings do, but one thing that’s consistent is my gratitude.
My life has been good here. I have a bike, which I love. I’m all settled into the apartment. I have a nice hot-water shower and a super nice gym membership! All my clothes are put away, and I clean the apartment every day. I’ve enjoyed my few classes teaching with Bogota Business English and am making enough money to survive thanks to my online English classes. (Still not saving though, sad face.) I am taking 3 hours a week of individual Spanish classes and am about to move that up to 6 hours a week. I’m still doing linear algebra, but that may change soon. I even work out at the gym 5 days a week, and I’m that guy who records everything in my handy-dandy gym notebook! 🙂
I’m still learning things, and I’m not only talking about Spanish or linear algebra or how to teach English better. I’ve recently branched out in my cooking by doing Indian food for the first time (the spices were ridiculously expensive, but it’s been on my mind for a few years). I’ve also been utilizing my blender by making my own sauces. I made a mango salad dressing (never done salad dressings before and didn’t have a vinaigarette dressing lol) and my own margarita mixes (a strawberry mix and a classic lime mix, both of which were fantastic). I continue to make my own fresh fruit juice. I’ve perfected my guacamole and expressed my delight for it by spending an obscene amount of money (comparatively) on avocadoes. More than I spend on any other food item!! I’ve even given up on coffee in the mornings and chosen instead to do tea. (I sometimes do a 4 oz tiny coffee cup in the afternoons lol.)
I recently had the pleasure to host 2 couchsurfers and to practice hospitality! They are lovely people from Germany and Argentina, and we have enjoyed just hanging out in the evenings. I really like having couchsurfers, at least polite ones. 🙂 And as they’re my first ones, they have set a very positive tone for me for CS!
My main focus/intention this year is still developing my Spanish and everything else kind of falls into place around that. I have my commitments, which are teaching English; I have my discipline routines (Spanish and gym); and I think I’m doing good on taking care of myself regarding naps, errands, and healthy eating. For instance, I haven’t gone to a restaurant in over two weeks! 🙂
That’s basically my life in a nutshell, at least for how I feel right now. I am doing really well and hope you are too!! 🙂