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.
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.
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!
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!
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