Friday, Mar 1, 2019
I think my love affair with Medellin may be coming to an end. This week I experienced almost daily rain showers and thunderstorms. Remember how I felt about the rain in Cuenca when I lived there? This week seemed oddly familiar. I will say the temperature, even with the rain, is better here than in Cuenca.
Still, when it’s raining it comes down hard. I was on my way to grab a cup of coffee at my favorite cafe and it just started pouring. I didn’t have a rain jacket so by the time I got to where I was going I was soaked. Take a look at the amount of rain.
It’s been another great week at school. The learning continues and my time spent speaking Spanish is expanding into more conversations outside of the classroom. People here are easy to speak with, just hard for me to “hear” the words being spoken. It is going to require ongoing effort for me to understand their side of the conversation. Poco a poco.
During one of the evenings this week, the guy that owns my favorite coffee hangout, Daniel, came to the school and put on a demonstration of different methods to make the perfect cup of coffee. This is all done in Spanish of course. It is a great opportunity to listen to him for understanding, listen to the other students ask questions in Spanish, and for me to formulate and ask my own questions too.
He told us about the nature of the beans grown in Colombia; how the beans can be affected by fruits planted close to the coffee plants, and how the very best beans are all exported and not sold in Colombia. Go figure.
Obviously the vocabulary in the conversation is at times way beyond what I know. Fortunately the school has a Director of Activities, Felipe, who translates when anyone needs help.
The big event this week was a trip to what is referred to as the Greenbelt. It is a green space with stone walkways above the 13 de Noviembre barrio. It is the highest point we have been on so far, providing a great view of Medellin. Before we began the trek up, Felipe who is our guide and activities director, gave us some history on the barrio. The sign painted on the wall behind him is a message for the younger generation to not forget that peace in Medellin wasn’t always the case.
The government has invested a lot of money into community projects like the Greenbelt area. The great thing is that the people living in these barrios, many who are the actual laborers of the projects undertaken, take great pride in what has been created. They ensure the areas are well maintained and safe, even at night. It is a real testament to people taking ownership for the well being of their communities.
Best Views Are Up
Our tour began with a long walk up a steep incline in the barrio. Typical of what we have experienced in all the barrios here. With the exception of areas that have the Metro cable cars, huffing and puffing up these inclines is a way of life for the inhabitants of the barrios.
As we got above the houses of the barrios, we found a path on the mountain side that connected with the well paven walkway of the Greenbelt.
More information on the area and the project was shared with us. This is the last picture (below) of any remains of a “nice day”. The rain started shortly after this and we still had a long ways to walk.
Of course everyone took it in stride and kept their happy faces on in spite of the increasingly heavy rainfall.
As we got close to the very top, the statue that can be seen from far below was providing shelter for some guys in shorts and t-shirts from the now strong horizontal winds blowing with rain.
As we approached, it was like being in the beginnings of a hurricane with the sideways rain blowing on us.
Those of you following my blog for years know how I feel about a lot of rain. This sums it up for me.
Still it was a great outing and when the rain finally did clear, we had great views of Medellin at night.
The photo below was taken by one of the students on the tour who shared it with us.
Of course a little…or a lot…of rain never hurt anyone. No one looked the worst for (wash n’) wear as we made our way back into town.
I have been in Medellin for a month now. Colombia Immersion is an excellent school to learn Spanish regardless of your level. The school has Basic to Advanced lessons, all constructed in a way that affords conversation quickly at all levels. I have friends here in every level, and everyone says the same thing…they are learning a ton, it’s fun, and from my observation everyone here is speaking way more Spanish than when we started.
Month one is finished. In this time I feel I have done a lot in Medellin and surrounding areas. The activities provided through the school have given me an opportunity to become very familiar with the area, the culture, the past-time activities of the people, and most importantly, participation in pertinent, real life conversations in Spanish.
Month two starts Monday. I am looking forward to it being just as good! Stay tuned.