06 November 2007

Still Here...

And Bogota-bound. Tonight I'm off to IMP training for the rest of the week. I'm then sticking around an extra night and plan on doing some touring on Saturday. I'm a bit scared, but very excited to see a new city.

I've been terrible about writing! I think it's because I keep thinking that I have to have something exciting or witty to write. And I've really got nothing.

Life is pretty boring here. School keeps me busy and going to bed early. The weekends have been a combination of relaxation and craziness. A few weeks ago some friends and I spent the long weekend in La Pintatda, which is a small town south of Medellin. We stayed at a small hotel that had an amazing view and nice pool. I'll post pictures soon.

Two weekends ago was an election weekend, so the country was dry from Friday at 3:00 pm until Monday morning. Jenna and I had an inaugural party at our place, which was a lot of fun despite the torrential rain that kept many a guest home taxi-less. The next day ended up being absolutely no fun for me, and I had to skip out on our friends' party that night. :(

This past weekend was another 3-day weekend--the country celebrated All Saints' Day yesterday. Saturday night a bunch of us rented a bus and went to a dance club about 20 minutes out of the city for their annual Halloween party. It was a ton of fun! We didn't get home until after 3 am though, so Jenna and I were wiped out all day Sunday. It was really nice that we didn't have to try to be ready to go back to work the next day.

This coming weekend is another puente (holiday). I'm hoping to get a lot of grading done. I'll let you know how that works out for me.

I think that's about it for now. Things are good. I promise pictures soon.

28 September 2007

Home for Christmas

It's official. I bought my tickets to come home during Christmas break. I'll be arriving in Denver on December 13 and will stay there until the 17th or 18th. More info to come on plans to see everyone there.

I'll then head to Kemmerer to chill with the family, and I come back here on January 7. Just long enough to have quality time with everyone I miss, but to also start missing Medellin. :)

27 September 2007

Here they are...

Pictures! Finally! I’m officially on ‘Colombian Time’ now.

G’Nome had a bit too much sangria at happy hour. He was trying to swim to the bottom of the glass to get the fruit.

Looking northwest off our HUGE deck/patio at dusk

The same picture, but during the afternoon.

Looking west toward the city, over the top of La Visitacion Mall (the little strip mall on the corner).

Looking up the hill (northeast).

Looking north off the patio.

My building. I’m not sure if you can see the electric fence in this picture or not.

On my first day here…at my future-ex-husband’s coffee shop.

This is in a park near the National Museum (or something like that) that we got to see on our bus tour of the city. All of the sculptures are by Botero. This is little G’Nome next to giant head.

Happy Birthday!!

A big fat Happy Birthday to my wonderful sis-in-law Christy (she was my friend first)!

Love you tons! Hope your 31st year has lots of goodness in store!


I forgot to tell you all about the futbol game I went to (like, the first weekend here, even). A bunch of us went; we piled on the metro and headed out to the stadium. The stadium actually seemed quite primitive to me--although I don't think I was expecting anything fancy like Mile High or anything. But I guess I had some picture of a professional soccer stadium in my mind; this place didn't fit that picture.

In Medellin, if you follow futbol, you are either a fan of DIM (Deportivo something de Medellin) or of National. The game we saw was DIM vs. the Milionaires of Bogota. It was crazy! In the north end of the stadium, there is a mass of fans that chants and cheers nearly the entire game, all the while jumping up and down. The only thing I can compare it to is a football game at Texas A & M (it's a cult). Here's a video of the group--if you look closely, you can see the crowd jumping up and down. (UPDATE--it's taking forever to load the video and I've given up!)

They also had riot police protecting the two benches and the officials when they were near where the crowed could throw stuff at them.

Behind the goal near the previous picture, a little kid got caught up in the scrolling advertisement bar. They stopped the game long enough to get him out, but then started it back up while they worked on him and loaded him into the ambulance. Classy.

Internet and Stomach Flu

So, the day after I got internet at home, I came down with the stomach flu. Or, the 'kill me nows' as I told my kids when I went back to school after 2 days and a weekend off. I have never felt so sick in my life. So that's my excuse for not updating lately.

Thankfully, I am finally feeling like myself again. Only took 2 weeks.

12 September 2007

Welcome to the 21st Century


We got Internet and Cable hooked up in our apartment yesterday. It's about time!

I've officially signed up to Skype (although Jenna will have to show me how to use it) and I've already done an on-line crossword puzzle. I've also checked my email a few times, but none of you yayhoos have written, so I have no new messages.

Things are good here. More stories to tell, but not right now. I'm in the middle of cooking dinner. Better go make sure the rice isn't burnt!

31 August 2007

Holy Crap!

I really did move to Colombia.

I still have to pinch myself at times to make sure I'm not dreaming. Am I REALLY living in this kick-ass apartment on the side of a huge mountain, actually getting up before 6 am every day, and teaching great kids whose net worth is more than mine will ever be?


And there have still been no kidnappings. Sweet.

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

This was how Jenna referred to a cab ride the other night. And it really was.

We had just come out of the dentist's office, where she was getting a filling replaced and I was providing moral/speaking support. We tried calling a cab, but it had been raining off and on all afternoon, so no cabs were open. So we walk up to the main street (Avenida Poblado) to try to hail one. Next thing we know, the sky opens up in a torrential downpour. Now our shoes are soaked, there are still no cabs, and Jenna is threatening to pee behind a bush (which is actually quite common to see here).

Finally, a cab comes by and I ask if he'll take us to our apt. We're in hysterics by now, and he is telling me that he cannot take us (of course I can't understand why). So I look at Jenna, and she says 'Esta bien?' (it's ok?), and I climb in the car. He proceeded to drive like a bat out of hell, cussing us and traffic the entire way to our place, passing cars, honking his horn, weaving in and out of traffic, gunning it between speed bumps. It was great. Better than any ride at Elitch's.

10 August 2007

Catching Up

Hey there everyone! Sorry it’s been so long—still don’t have internet at home and trying to find the time to blog at school actually seems wasteful, what with all of the lesson planning and preparations that need to be done.

I’m posting a few new posts right now, so be sure to scroll down for the first one. I promise I’ll have pictures up soon—maybe this weekend, even.

Not Alone Anymore

Sunday I actually went to church with this girl Alma, who is a new teacher, and her roommates Julia and Karen who were here last year. It was awesome to be able to go to church, but it was kind of weird. The music was pretty good, even though I didn’t know the words, the songs, or what the words meant. I was madly using my Spanish-English dictionary, though. The sermon was pretty difficult to figure out, but I did recognize a few words here and there. I had a wonderful walk home afterward, and was able to check out a little bit more of my neighborhood. Or barrio, as we say here. Hee hee—I live in the barrio.

Sunday afternoon was made even better with the arrival of my roommate, Jenna. She’s feeling fine and doing fine after her stint in the hospital in Miami. It’s so nice to have someone else around. We’ve done a bit of exploring together, and our very broken Spanish is at least entertainment for the folks around us. The porterias recognize us and are ready to dial when we come out to their booth. Of course, the one downfall to having a roommate so far is that I find myself staying up late chatting instead of sleeping. Which makes the morning come that much sooner. It’s been tough being on the bus at 6:45, but thankfully it’s light out and will continue to be light out at that time through the year (the whole living-on-the-equator thing). It could be worse.

Not only has my roommate livened things up here, she helped me figure out how to call the US from my home phone, without even using a calling card. Of course, I’ll probably have to sell a kidney when the bill comes, but it was worth it to talk to mom and dad!

Second Weekend and All’s Better

My second weekend started off with a fun happy hour with the new teachers, our HR contacts, and some of the returning teachers. After my first weekend, I think people were worried about me, so my principal assigned me a new host ‘mom’—Ana Maria, who actually came to find me during the math institute. She called me Thursday night to tell me that she’d been told there was a happy hour planned and she would pick me up at 6:00 to go. It was nice to have a ride.

Saturday morning I went downtown to Parque Bolivar with 4 of the returning teachers for the San Alejo ‘craft’ fair, which is held the first Saturday of each month. It’s a huge fair, with vendors from all over the area. There were so many awesome things I wanted to get, but I held myself back and only bought a few note cards and some homemade candles.

On the way home, I decided to check out another one of the nearby malls. I treated myself to lunch at a little pizza place where the waiter spoke English and was very helpful (I told him that the next time I come in, I’ll speak Spanish.) Afterward, I grabbed a few groceries and headed out to catch a taxi to get home. I can’t remember the exact number, but no less than 5 cabs told me they wouldn’t take me. Since I couldn’t understand what they were saying, I don’t have any idea what the problem was. I was pretty frustrated, but determined to take a taxi all by my berry self. Finally, a woman and her parents, who had also been waiting a long time for a ride, beckoned me to ride with them. The driver wasn’t sure about my location, but he took me to a nearby hotel and told the doorman there that he needed to find a cab that knew where my place was. I finally got home nearly an hour after I started trying.

First Weekend Meltdown

So, my first weekend in Medellin wasn’t the best. I had planned to go to dinner at the apartment of 3 of the other new teachers. After my nap, I gathered all of my stuff and called for a cab as instructed in our ‘Welcome’ packet. The phone rang once, I heard some rambling in Spanish, and the line went dead. I found that odd, so I double checked the number and tried again. Same thing. I tried a few more times, all of them ending the same way, in what I’ve now figured out is a message that the line is busy. Not to be discouraged, I headed down to my porteria (doorman) to ask him to call. It was difficult getting my question across (see previous post), but I finally figured out I needed to bring him change to make the phone call. By this time, I was totally frustrated and decided that I was not going anywhere. I went back up to my apartment and called the girls to let them know. They proceeded to call the taxi company themselves to get me a ride, but twice were disconnected near the end of the call. I ended up eating over-priced spaghetti (have you ever tried to find something familiar in a foreign grocery store?) and going to bed early.

The next morning I called Jen and the Tinas (above-mentioned coworkers), and they were so nice to come pick me up in a cab so that we could all go shopping. While I waited for them to get here, I did a bit of crying over the fact that I was all alone in a city that I couldn’t even get a cab in, my roommate hadn’t made it here yet, and to top it off I hadn’t even figured out how to call my parents yet! All I wanted to do was talk to my mom! I had to put on my big girl panties and deal with it all by myself!

After shopping, we all had dinner at their place, and I ended up spending the night in their maid’s quarters. Seriously, if it weren’t for the lack of closet space, I’d have moved in right then. The girls were so wonderful to me and really knew how to step in and help.

Sunday brought the start of the math institute hosted at our school. It was a great learning experience. We had kids in the morning, with experienced teachers working with them as facilitators (instead of lecturers), and in the afternoon we had professional development and discussion. It was awesome to see other teachers in action again, and learn some new things to do in my classroom (or, not do, in the case of leaving markers on the students’ desks when they are done making their name tags). We also had a chance to work with teachers from other cities in Colombia, so we not only made professional contacts, but reservations for future trips. I have all kinds of places to stay in Bogota!

27 July 2007


That's Spanish for 'Hello.' Just in case you didn't know. Unfortunately for me, my Spanish ability doesn't go much further. But that's ok, because I'm learning. Yeah.

I've made it to Medellin. The city is beautiful!!! There are hills everywhere, so nearly every place you are, you have a great view. My apartment is amazing. I'm supposed to have a roommate, Jenna, but she took ill in Miami and has been in the hospital since Monday. I guess she was planning to come down today (Friday), but the last I heard was that that might not happen. I'm not exactly sure what's going on. As a result, I'm rambling around the place alone. Which isn't too bad, really, except that I didn't have my alarm set right the first night and woke up yesterday morning to a phone call saying my bus would leave in 5 minutes. Nothing like making the whole bus late on the first day, eh? (But really, is anyone surprised??)

My apartment has 3 bedrooms (one big master with a huge closet and bathroom attached), one other full bathroom, and a maid's room (small bedroom with 3/4 bath) off the kitchen. The master (ok, my) bedroom opens onto an enclosed patio, which then opens onto a huge open patio. The view is spectacular!. The living room opens onto a small balcony that extends past the kitchen. There are tons of windows, too, which I'm able to leave open 24-7.

Yesterday we went shopping with our 'host families.' My 'dad,' Jose, is an oral surgeon and his wife is a dentist. They have two little girls; the oldest will be in 1st grade and the youngest in K5 (which is basically the US equivalent of kindergarten) at my school. Jose speaks as much English as I speak Spanish, so he brought along a family friend, Anita, who will be in 10th grade here at the school. She is fluent in English, which I think is wonderful. This is the only school she's gone to, and she loves it. The shopping itself was completely overwhelming, but I was able to get enough food that I won't starve for a week or two at least. Oh, and if anyone's wondering, I've been drinking the city water and haven't gotten the least bit sick. Guess I'm going to have to start exercising if I want to lose weight. That, or actually start using cocaine. Good thing there are so many hills I'll have to traverse in order to get anywhere!

Ok, well I think I've rambled on enough for this morning. I'm pretty coherent, despite a lack of caffeine (I managed to buy a coffeemaker and coffee, but no filters yesterday). I'll be sure to post pictures soon; I don't have internet at home yet and haven't wanted to drag my laptop to where there is service. I do have a real address and phone number, so email me if you want either. No cell phone yet; maybe this weekend.

13 July 2007

Pictures! Woo Woo!!

Ok, not a whole lot to report, except that I'm in the middle of 'moving to another country hell.' Packing has started...not a whole lot of progress yet, though. Mom's house has too many distractions, Dish Network the big one. Did you know that Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, The O.C., AND Murder She Wrote are all on at least twice a day?!?

On a happier note, I figured out how to add pictures to my posts. It's REALLY hard! Or, that's what I keep telling myself so that I don't feel like such an idiot. For a smart girl, I sure am dumb sometimes! Enjoy!

I like to call this one "Serial Killer Jason"

These are shots of us in the Jackson Town Square with the famous antlers. We're so cool, we wear our sunglasses at night when we're the only people around. Notice the sign next to Jason.

Last one for today...This is G'Nome the Gnome (thanks Julia!) next to the lone peony bush at the cabin. It actually bloomed this year!

01 July 2007


Walk at Graduation Ceremony...Check!
It was pretty cool to go through the ceremony and wear my hood. Even though it was nine-thousand degrees out and we were sitting in the middle of the soccer field in black robes. I think I did better than my family, though, who wussed out and went into the union to get some air-conditioned bliss as soon as I was done walking! I guess I don't blame them, though, since there were a million other students to sit through.

Throw a Huge Party in My Amazon-Inspired Backyard...Check!
Had a great party, with Jason at the grill (despite issues with the charcoal), beer flowing like water, mom playing the role of hostess, Brian hula-hooping and tending the fire, and everyone enjoying a nice time. The evening came to a close with a trip to Sancho's Broken Arrow and Pete's Kitchen for a breakfast burrito and gyros.

Entertain Out-Of-Towners...Check!

My best friend Lindsay and her husband Jeff came into town for a vaca before I head out. Had a blast with them, including a few really lazy days. We caught a Rockies/Royals game, tried to drive over Guanella Pass (but got stopped at the top with snow drifts), ate some yummy meals, caught 'Trampled by Turtles' at Quixote's, and wreaked some havoc on the Lego store. A good time was had by all!

Finish Thesis...Check!
After months of "working on it", I finally got my paper done and did my presentation for my committee. Mom came for moral support and knitted in the back of the room the whole time. I was more nervous than I wanted to be when I gave my talk, but it did go well, and I didn't fail. Feel free to call me 'Master.'

Pack up Denver Apartment and Move Home with Mom and Dad...Check!
After I was done with my paper and talk, mom and I got to work on packing and cleaning my house. I can't believe how much stuff I've amassed in the 4 years I've been in that place. And I even got rid of most of my furniture! It's the little things that'll get you.

See Some Live Music Before Leaving the Country...Check!
Brian and I caught Particle at Cervantes before I left Denver. It was an awesome show!! We got to stand right at the stage for most of the show and danced our butts off. Ran into my friend 'Crazy Melissa' near the end of the show and got to hang out with her for a little while afterward in the green room. Which, by the way, has to be the worst green room in rock and roll history. Now, I'm no expert on green rooms, but I can't imagine it gets worse than this one. The band was actually packing up their stuff rather than hanging in the green room. That's how bad it is.

In a totally different scene, Jason and I saw Jerry Joseph in Jackson, WY this past Tuesday night. We decided to stay in town that night, instead of driving back to the cabin. This meant we stayed at a campground where he slept in the back of his truck and I slept in a little tent he's had for 20+ years. It was nice, though, because neither of us had to drive. On the downside, there were about 392 geese and their goslings that found it necessary to come through camp at the crack of hell the next morning. Hangover + Geese = Not so Happy Jenny.

The show was spectacular! Jerry played all of our favorites, 3 of them at my request. It was totally rocking--a great show to leave with! After the show, we walked back to the campground through the town square and took a picture in front of the famous antler arch...probably the only one of the two of us there. Good times!

Also on the list:
Get Colombian Visa...working on it.
Finish Thank-You Notes...working on it.
Send Ahead Some Goods...looking into it.
Enjoy Time with Family...working on it, one by one.
Let Mom Spoil Me...always working on it.
Pack Stuff...not looking forward to working on it.

10 May 2007


Or, the lack thereof. I am this ( ) close to being finished with my thesis paper, yet I can't seem to focus long enough to get the damn introduction written! Every time I sit down to work, something distracts me, be it the piles of stuff waiting for my garage sale, readying my house for a visit from the parents and tons of people for my graduation party, or even daydreams of what life will be like in Medellin. And now, I've got this to distract me. Great. Like I need anything else to pull my attention!

I am really looking forward to this move as the growing experience I know it can be. As much as I've learned about myself in the last 6 years, I'm really feeling like I've gotten stagnant, and I've maybe even lost view of who I really am. I can't wait to see how I 'am', how I'll act and how I'll measure approval and acceptance and how I'll handle being on my own, thousands of miles away from everything that is comforatable and known to me. And how can I use this new environment to really examine who I am and where my heart is.

More on this later, as I'm having a bit of writer's block.

06 May 2007

I've Arrived!

Woo hoo! I finally decided on a name for the blog, so here I am! Stay tuned for actual news...there will be tons in the next few months, I think.

Right now, I must get going. I've got tons of packing and cleaning to get done before the family arrives on Friday, in addition to making progress toward a finished paper and decent presentation. I can hardly wait until I'm actually finished with school!