So we're getting settled, slowly but surely. Tomorrow we should know if the apartment we want is still available and get an idea of when we can move in. Hopefully soon. It's great staying at Camilo's sister's apartment, but we haven't had a place of our own since October and seriously, we're tired of living out of suitcases. And I think once we do get our own place, the "we're on vacation" sensation will be taken over by the "we actually live here now" realization.
It's sinking in a little more each day. I keep reminding myself that we aren't just visiting. We live here now. For reals. And with this realization I'm beginning to notice some of the differences I will need to adjust to. I plan on writing a more dedicated post (or posts) on this subject, but here are a few to get us started:
1. Here in Colombia, unless you manage to find an affordable furnished apartment with furnishings you like, your apartment will not come with a refrigerator. Camilo told me this before we came, but I was all "You crazy, of course there will be a refrigerator!" Nope. Apparently you buy a refrigerator and move it with you anytime you switch apartments. So we will have to purchase one I guess. I'm just hoping we can find a used one in good shape so we don't spend too much..
2. Traffic. Or more so, crazy drivers everywhere. The top three types of crazy drivers are: Taxis, Motorcycles and Buses, in no particular order. There are a lot of potholes. The motorcycles weave between cars. The buses barely stop for 5 seconds, so if you are getting on, HOLD ON TO SOMETHING and make sure your body is fully inside. When you need to get off the bus, jump out as soon as humanly possible because the minute your feet hit the pavement the bus is driving away. Are there lanes? Yes. Do people necessarily follow them? No. Make a lane if you need to. I recall last year when we visited and took a taxi from the airport. A traffic light was out and everyone decided they should get to be the ones to go next so traffic was at a dead stop. What did our taxi driver decide to do? Drive on the sidewalk. He then said "Bienvenida a Colombia!" I am way too terrified to ever attempt to drive here. So I know I'll get plenty of exercise walking wherever I need to go. Perhaps I can practice driving stick shift in the country side (automatic cars aren't so popular here and more expensive, I believe). Oh, did I mention that cars often share the road with carts pulled by horses and donkeys? Because they do. In the city. Yep.
3. Lines. As in people lines. They don't exist. Not really, anyway. Think you're waiting in one? Oh, did someone just budge in front of you because there was an inch of space between you and the person ahead of you? Even if it's your turn, say, at the grocery store, and you're the next person up. The person behind you is literally at your back, trying to push their way in. I am not a pushy person. I'm not one to be pushed, either. But it's something I have to get used to. Not taking it personally. And getting into the spirit of pushing others when they're being just a smidge too slow or allowing just a teensy amount of space between them and the person in front of them.
4. I'll make this next one more positive, because believe me, there are many positive differences here. I'll start with fruit. People, if you think you've had fresh fruit, you haven't. Well, unless you live somewhere tropical I guess. Next time you're at the grocer, look at where the fruit is from. If it's from Colombia (or another tropical region), imagine what it must be like IN said place. It is UH MAY ZING. I have been drinking fresh squeezed orange juice every morning. I have eaten the most delicious bananas of my life. There are fruits I don't even know how to pronounce and OMNOMNOM they are fantastical. Funny thing, the apples are imported from the U.S., and so far, they taste better than the apples I've had in the U.S. Well the red delicious anyway. (I will note, however, the best apples I've eaten in my 30 years were in Poland. Go there. Just for the apples. You'll thank me.) In all seriousness, I think this was an excellent move for me just for the fact that I will be eating a mountain load more of fruit than ever before in my life. Oh and the avocados? THEY ARE THE SIZE OF COCONUTS. I'll just leave that there...
5. The cost of living is WAY less than the states. Granted there are plenty of places that can be costly (fancy restaurants, clubs, malls) and the yearly salaries here are much less than you would make in the U.S. (let's just say I'll be lucky if I get 10-15k a year. And that's actually somewhat decent) But if you stop at a tienda for 2 beers and a snack, the cost is around $3. I like that. Quite a lot.
That's it for the night, because I am pretty tired and need to repaint my nails because they are a horrible blue color that looked better in the bottle and I'm meeting Camilo's grandfather tomorrow for the first time. First impressions, yo.
I would like to end this with an I LOVE YOU ALL. Seriously from the bottom of my heart. I want you all to know I'm very happy and content here, and though I miss you dearly, I'm so glad I came. I really do feel at home here. And I hope you will come and visit us. Just as soon as we find a place to live...