I’ve been in Bogota a little over a week, but it feels like I’ve been here forever– not in a bad way, just in that I feel like I’ve lived quite a bit of life in the past ten days. Every day has several ups + downs: I might have a great time out at lunch with friends, and then the most awkward encounter with a woman who’s showing me an available room in her apartment. There’s no normal life just yet, but I’m hoping to fall into a routine once I have a more permanent place to stay.
I’ve been in a great Airbnb since orientation ended last week, but it was an abrupt transition from the super-scheduled daily life we had during our first few days in Bogota. Orientation was usually from 8:30AM – 5:00PM; we were surrounded by people at all times, had lectures at all times, and ate food at all times. On Saturday when I woke up alone in this Airbnb, I was kind of shell-shocked by the sudden freedom I had to work on my own project revolving around my own interests. Is there such a thing as too much independence?
Not only that, I was also sad for orientation to come to a close because it was such a tease meeting dozens of great people for a few days, and then watching them go off to their respective cities for a year. Fortunately, the English teachers will be back in Bogota in September; but, I’ll have to wait until the end of May for all of the researchers to come back together again.
Overall, I’m happy so far. But, the thought of being here for the next ten months (even with Christmas break situated nicely in the middle) is intimidating. Maybe once I have a bit more time behind me here, I’ll feel calmer about the next year.
Since orientation ended, my days have been spent searching for apartments all over the city, practicing my Spanish every morning on my own and throughout the day while running errands, meeting my Fulbright advisor at the National University, spending time with new friends, dealing with the Colombian bureaucracy of getting an ID card and phone plan, and trying coffee. I feel fortunate that I live in a city with some solid Fulbrighters and a great Airbnb host, who invited me to join her for a salsa class and at a few coffee shops (below).