I made it to another continent! I'm staying with a lovely host family in Medellín, Colombia. Here is my schedule for the next few months:
- Through July 4: Take Spanish lessons in Medellín.
- July 4 (USA independence day) through July 29 (Peruvian independence day): Wander through Colombia, Ecuador, Northern Peru.
- July 30 through ?: Volunteer at an afterschool program in Trujillo, Peru and teach some kids English for a while. Maybe a month or two. A buddy from Panama City turned me on to Workaway, which is how I found it. He had just been on a Costa Rican turtle reserve for a few months. Workaway is like WWOOFing, if you're familiar with that. Most places give you room and board in exchange for a few hours of work on the weekdays. In some developing countries, they allow charities to charge a small fee. The program I'm volunteering with charges $8/day for putting you up in a room, feeding you three meals a day, laundry access, etc.. It seems like in Peru only the places that make a profit off of you can afford to let you stay for free. For example, there was a tourism agency in Cuzco that wanted a web developer to work for five hours a day in exchange for room and board. LOL NOPE. If I'm going to ply my trade for your profit, you'll need to pay my weekly rate. So I'm happy giving a bit to Hilo Rojo to keep them going.
Here's what I've been up to the last two weeks:
Final Days in Central America
I made some friends at my hostel in Panama City. We spent the better part of three days together. We explored the ruins of Panamá Viejo.
Andy (the turtle guy) taught us how to make patacones (fried plantain patties).
The patacones were part of a larger family dinner. We were pretty much the envy of the hostel.
We got up one morning to see the sun rise over the city. Gorgeous.
But then it was time to part ways. It was time for me to go to...
I've been here four days now and I'm smitten. On my first morning, my host dad and sister took me on a little hike in one of the city's parks, where I saw this.
Yesterday, my host dad took me to the market to buy food for the week. There's every kind of supermarket you might want around here (I've already been to equivalents of Aldi, Giant Eagle, and Sams Club), but you get the best prices here.
I'm taking classes in El Poblado, the hip neighborhood where you see tech startups, trendy cafés, lots of gringos. I don't have any good pictures of it yet.
I'm staying in a less hip neighborhood named Laureles. I'm grateful to be around more Colombian families and fewer nightclubs.
In closing, I'm always glad to see Latin Americans pine for the U.S. Midwest like I do.