domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2011

Thanksgiving and Final Site Placement!!!

This past Thursday was memorable to say the least!  It was an action packed day and at first it slipped my mind that it was Thanksgiving (Día de Acción de Gracias, if you will) until that first Happy Thanksgiving hug I received from a fellow trainee.  Peace Corps Colombia set up a special day for us from start to finish.  We started by visiting the famed Museo del Caribe all morning learning more about the costal areas and unique costal culture in Colombia.

This here is a traditional meeting place for elders of the community. It a beautiful structure in the shape of a tepee (sp?) only the top does not close off completely. It was left open to better commune with nature and also allow for shadows to tell time. (At least I'm pretty sure that's what the guide Spanish isn't that great, folks!) Only men were permitted to enter to discuss community issues and come to decisions, so, quite naturally, we kicked all the men out and took a picture.  (No disrespect, just sayin')

There was an amazing room dedicated to Gabriel García Márquez in the museum too.  The entire presentation about his life and works was this amazing picture and light show projected onto the walls.  Trippy!  The room was full of period pieces to 'set the mood' so to speak.  Here I am having entirely too much fun playing with a typewriter...


And here I am in front of a very famous image on the coast.  Before I moved to Colombia, during my diligent research phase (cough, cough), I read that Colombia is considered to have the purest Spanish outside of Spain. This made me quite happy considering I lived in Spain and still speak Spanish with a lisp! (To the frustration of our language professors) So I arrived in Barranquilla thinking that I had a leg up...which I quickly found out to be false! Although I'm told the Spanish spoken in the interior of the country is quite different and quite proper, the costeños here speak very, very quickly and cut off the ends of nearly every word as far as I can tell (typical of most coastal areas).  There's an expression here that speaks to this: comerse sus letras/sonidos.  Which means to eat your letters or sounds.  Furthermore, I don't know what they have against the letter 'd' but it just disappears at the end of words. For example, Pescado becomes pescao (that ao dipthong actually makes it a very portuguese sounding word) and raspado becomes raspao.  And if all of that didn't make the learning of 'costeñol' -the way los costeños speak español- hard enough, enter the slang.  If you don't use at least one slang word in every sentence, you simply are not speaking the language here on the coast!  It's been fun learning a lot of the slang and this image I'm sitting in front of is a compilation of some of the more popular expressions:

And now all of our Spanish Professors in front of the wall:

After the museo in the morning we went back to the Peace Corps. office to learn where we would be living for the next two years!!!  But more about that later...

After the site announcement we had a full-fledged American, with a bit of Latin infusion, Thanksgiving dinner!  Everybody who works at the office were amazing and all cooked something special to bring to to the party. In addition to the food, they all brought their was quite the cultural exchange ;)

And what Thanksgiving is complete without kicking back, ful lleno (translation: full full...seriously), for some football?  Yes, I hate football.  But it was an aircondioned room with a couch which seemed like the perfect place to take my tummy ache!

And now for the big announcement!  The reason I was so excited that I forgot it was Thanksgiving. So, where I will be living for the next two years completing my Peace Corps service...drumroll please..CARTAGENA!!!  Good, so now you can all start making your travel arrangements :)  I don't know much about my site, the school I will be working at, but I'm meeting with someone from the school this week and traveling back to Cartagena to get to know the school and the community a bit before officially completing training and moving Cartagena Jan. 15th.  So this will be our Peace  Corp crew in Cartagena:

Top Row: Kasper, Amanda, Me, Mike D, and Mike B
Second Row: Christina and Abby

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving and the unofficial kickoff into the holiday season.  I had my first Skype date with my parents since moving to Colombia. They are out in Colorado visiting my brother and his lovely wife and it's made me so happy that can't help but share it. 

Peace Corps is making my sappy.  All that hippy love must be rubbing off on me or something.  Regardless, I hope you are all still as thankful as I am and are enjoying the holidays.  Thanks for thinking about me and reading the blog.  Miss you!

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