The last few weeks have been more positive than my first two in Barranquilla. I am starting to settle in, homesickness is dwindling and in all aspects of life I’m starting to feel happier.
In school I have been working on the intensive English course, which has been a right laugh so far. Some of the ideas the students come up with are hilarious and their knowledge of rude and sexual language never fails to surprise me or make me laugh. I probably should have been annoyed at one student calling another a ‘fucking mother’ but after laughing at them aloud for 5 minutes I don’t think I would have been taken seriously if I told them off. In other lessons students have written sentences and made presentations with material such as, “I will go to the party and I am going to get laid”, “he should take Viagra” and “she is a whore”. Still, at least the grammar is right and their English is improving. The accent can be funny too… I didn’t think it was possible to pronounce “don’t cheat in exams” and “don’t shit in exams” but here in Colombia it is.
I’m managing to get around the city easily enough. The buses are crowded, confusing, warm and don’t run on a timetable. They just drive around their route and you have to look at the sign on the front to see where they’re going. They are all personalised. Some are just plain on the inside, while others have family photos, religious iconography, fluffy curtains, posters and even one bus had a bird in a cage too. Definitely not like the buses at home.
The hunt for a new house isn’t going well. What I really want is to live with young people, but due to the fact that in Colombian culture young people stay at home until they marry, it has been impossible to find anything like what I’m looking for. Still, I’m keeping my eyes and ears peeled and hopefully I will find somewhere perfect to live. I’ve joined a gym, where due to a spinning class and Caribbean weather I left feeling like I’d just been drenched in warm, icky water; and this weekend I am meeting up with some other English assistants in Cali, from where we are heading to the Pacific coast to go on a whale watching trip. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan!