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The Wandering Dropout

After trying really hard to find something useful to be good at, it looks like my calling in life is to travel and eat

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TEFL

Colombian Food: Sancocho

Sancocho seems to be found all over Colombia and is a really popular lunch. There are chicken and beef versions but they’re essentially identical apart from the meat.

It’s made up of a combination of meat (I’m pretty sure this was beef shin, or at least something similar), corn, potatoes, yuca, and plantain all cooked in a deliciously rich meaty soup. In my opinion one of the most flavoursome of Colombian dishes (there are actual herbs, people!) it’s a welcome break from rice, arepa and overcooked meat.

My sancocho above is served ‘bandeja’ style – on a plate, with the soup on the side – but it’s more normal to find everything in a huge bowl with the soup poured over the top. I’ve also got some ahuyama – a squash-like vegetable – and a bit of salad because my lovely lunch lady knows that I like vegetables more than the average Colombian.

What a babe. What a feast. Nom.

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Pereza: An Essential Lifestyle Choice

There is a thing called ‘pereza’ in our wee town of Girardot. 

Loosely speaking, it translates to ‘laziness’.

But don’t be mistaken – it is so much more than that. It’s a feeling, an affliction, a whole lifestyle, and the best way to understand Girardot. Working pereza out definitely helped us eventually settle in here.

For a bit of context, it is generally between 36-43ºC in the afternoons (between 95-110°F). When we wake up at 5am, it’s already a balmy 28ºC . When we fall asleep at 10pm it is rarely below 30ºC. It is ALWAYS hot.

Oh, and it’s a super sticky kind of hot only found in the bottom of  valley a million hours away from any coasts. Pure delight.

This makes doing almost anything about 20x more effort than it would be in a more reasonable climate. And so the term pereza is really able to come into it’s own here. “Ayy no, tengo pereza” is a genuinely acceptable reason to not do something.

You’re supposed to be going into town to buy some things and you’ve been overcome by the heat? Pereza. Don’t even think about moving from that bed.

In class and can’t be bothered to do the exercise? Pereza. A valid thing to say to your teacher to excuse you from working, apparently.

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Studying outside because the classroom = a bazillion degrees hot!  

Trying to do some exercise but sweating before you even started? No problem, go ahead and skip it because.. pereza!

Planning on doing some job applications this afternoon? Pereza kicks in. Nap instead.

An interesting result of pereza is that hours pass without anything at all happening. They honestly whizz past while you just.. suffer? enjoy? the pereza. Maybe you work up the energy to open Netflix or pop out for an almuerzo lunch. Maybe not though.

It took me over 3 whole weeks to take my phone to the Claro shop to get the internet issues sorted, simply because it required a 10-minute bike ride into town in the afternoon. Pereza wins out over good intentions at 38°C.

One thing I do know is that its going to be a shock to the system when pereza is no longer enough of an excuse to get you out of doing anything and everything you don’t have the energy to do. Help!

 

 

Surviving Culture Shock

¿Estás Ama‎ñada? It’s a question I’ve been asked countless times while in Colombia.

‘Ama‎ñada’ is essentially a very local way of saying ‘settled in’ – and finally, when I smile and nod enthusiastically in response, I am being completely honest.

Because I really struggled with settling into my placement city when I first got here. Continue reading “Surviving Culture Shock”

Introducing.. the lulo

Lulo is gross if you try and eat it like an apple – sour and a bit bitter.

Whizz it up in a blender with lots of sugar and ice, though, and it becomes the most refreshingly zingy drink you’ve ever tried.

Also going by the name naranjilla (little orange) in Ecuador, it seems to be one of those fruits that doesn’t really exist in the English language or English-speaking-world.

So if you’re somewhere that sells ‘jugo de lulo’ I would aprovechar (make the most of) it while you can!!

Come Teach With Me?

 

Many people on here talk about wanting to travel more long-term and really get to know somewhere.. To live abroad and have the chance to explore a new country.

A country with the most public holidays in the world..

Well here’s an idea!

I’m currently working as an English Teaching Fellow (essentially like an English assistant / co-teacher) on a Colombian government-run programme – and they’re recruiting for more people interested in starting either in January or on 10th September.

It’s decently paid, especially for South America where paid English teaching is more difficult to find, very well supported, and experience teaching English is appreciated but not absolutely necessary so it could be a good first experience for people.

So.. why not apply? It’s an incredible experience. Really tough at times, but so rewarding when you see something click behind eyes that have never believed that they might actually understand English.

Oh, and you’d be in Colombia, meaning that spending the infinite long weekends drinking piña coladas on tropical beaches, climbing mountains, tubing down rivers, or relaxing in hot springs is very much doable 🙂

I’ll leave you with some photos of things I’ve got up to while here:

Please feel free to message me for more personal insights and any advice! 

* A sneaky request: if you put me as the person who referred you (Maija Sequeira) then I get brownie points, which would be great as I want to work with them next year!

The Artery-Busting Bandeja Paisa

When I was in Medellín I obviously had to try the dish they’re so proud of, which apparently tastes a million times better in an authentic Paisa (=from Medellín and surrounding areas) restaurant.

So what is it? Essentially a big pile of rice and beans with various types of meat lumped on top, and a side of avocado. Plus an arepa and some fried sweet plantain. Oh and a fried egg of course. Continue reading “The Artery-Busting Bandeja Paisa”

Tayrona: Helloooo Paradise

Imagine endless yellow-sanded beaches being lapped at by sparkling blue waves. Add some lush, green jungle rising from the sea to eventually end in the snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range – the world’s closest-to-the-sea mountain range. Continue reading “Tayrona: Helloooo Paradise”

Falling in Love with Colombia

This song is basically one big advert for Colombia, and it works on me every time.

If I’m having a dog day or feeling down, I just need to dance around my room to this song and I remember that I’m living in a ridiculously incredible, vibrant and beautiful country.

Filandia: a hotbed of coffee and Willies

The colonial architecture of Filandia, a gorgeous wee town in the coffee region of Colombia, is stunning. Particularly since almost everything in this sleepy town is painted in vibrant colours and set against a backdrop of sparkling emerald hills. Continue reading “Filandia: a hotbed of coffee and Willies”

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