So after a long week of 'despedidas' or good-bye parties, including one at the office (see above), and several tearful good-byes, I packed my bags got in a 'puerta a puerta' (door to door bus service) with six other amazing volunteers and arrived in Cartagena on Sunday to officially start my volunteer service!
|Cartagena Crew! Top Row: Victor, Abby, Mike B |
Bottom Row: Amanda, Christina, Me, Mike D
So I live in a neighborhood called Escallon Villa that's about 40 minutes outside of the famous walled city that some of you will be getting to know when you visit me ;) And I've gone from an hour and a half commute every morning to just a five minute walk to my school! The back wall of my house is actually the back wall of the school!
So allow me to show you around my new home! This here is a picture taken from the front door. A big spacious area for a Colombian circle and dancing I'm assuming and the kitchen. Down the hallway there are four rooms. I live in a house with a mother and father their two single daughters and one married daughter with her husband and their five year old girl!
I haven't officially named him yet but this is our water filter. No more boiling water to drink it! So much faster and easier...
And as if it weren't already a full house they also rent out rooms to people! This next picture is of the structure they have built out back and divided into three rooms.
I will be in the middle room with a family on either side of me. I'm not quite sure how many people live in each room...but I think it rounds up to a lot! Unfortunately my room is not quite ready for me. Even though the Peace Corps said that the room was fine, they decided to do some renovating. Hopefully it will be done this weekend...can't wait to see what it looks like. Here's a couple of shots of it now as a work in progress :)
And in case I don't want to interrupt or there's a late night, there is a separate entrance to get to the back patio so I won't have to go through the house.
And this is the view from the back door of the house to the amazing patio that my host mother (Lilia) has been working on for years. The rooms they rent out, including my own, are to the right. And that back wall straight ahead is the back wall to the school I work at!
A few more pictures of family the new family I'm living with. Be forewarned: Lilia looooooooves her some hats!
And last but not least here is a picture, taken at our bon voyage party in Barranquilla, of Christina and me. Christina is actually the first person I remember meeting the day I arrived super late and super flustered thanks to flight delays to our initial orientation in Miami. Since then I have seen here pretty much every day save maybe three or four. She lived the closest to me in Barranquilla-which wasn't saying much since I lived en el culo de la mula...middle of nowhere if you will ;)-but it meant I saw her more frequently. She also was in my Spanish class the whole three months which meant we spent four hours a day together in a group of 3 or 4 students every day save Sunday! And now, she lives literally one block away from me! It's soooo nice to have a good friend so close to hang out with and explore the city!
Thank you all for reading once again! It makes me so happy to know that you all know a little bit about my life still :) Things are getting off to a slow start at school. There is a two week planning time before all the students arrive on the 30th of January to start classes. But more about that later...