“Living” in Colombia—Weed, wine and women!

“All journeys begin at home.  That moment when you pull the front door closed behind you is one to relish…like the “glug” sound when you first pour from a bottle of wine.”

I read this line this morning as I was getting ready to write.  It’ s from International Living and Eoin Bassett.  Thank you Eoin it’s perfect to get me rolling. 

When we started our journey in January our goal and dream was to live in three or four places each year.  Traveling is one thing but having the ability to LIVE somewhere foreign is why we are out here. 

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Traveling is so much fun but you always go “home” in a few weeks.  Back to work, back to the comfort zone.  This blog is titled “Our hearts” our idea is to document our travels and truly sink in somewhere and feel like we are home wherever we are in the world. 

The past six weeks we have lived in Medellin, Colombia.  We went to school to continue our study of Spanish.  Going to school five days a week, four hours a day is a routine, a structure of sorts almost like a job.  It gave us a chance to learn not only the language but the culture as well. 

We shop and cook our vegan meals and explore the wines of neighboring Argentina and Chile.  Eating vegan in Colombia is a challenge because the culture is set up around carne, pollo and camerones.  Part of the culture shock for us is; here to eat meat is a sign of wealth and success.  When we say “sin carne” they look at us like we are crazy.

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Here is a description of Colombia from a website called InSight Crime.  InSight Crime is a foundation dedicated to the study of the principal threat to national and citizen security in the Americas: organized crime.  You can follow them on Twitter as well.  @inSightCrime

“Colombia has been in a civil war for  over half a century and the rise and fall of drug trafficking empires, Colombia has made huge strides in improving its security situation in recent years. However, it remains beset by guerrilla rebels and criminal networks, and the Colombian underworld is a potent mix of ideological organizations and their remnants and organized crime where the boundaries between war and crime are fluid. These armed groups and criminal networks are involved in an extensive range of activities including drug production and trafficking, arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion and illegal mining.”  

http://www.insightcrime.org/colombia-organized-crime-news

One of our friends told us that as she grew up everyday was marked with tragedy as a family member, friend or neighbor was killed by gangs either by gunshot or bomb.  Even now she said as celebrations of holidays are marked with fireworks people still cringe, duck and wonder when the fireworks could actually be a car bomb exploding someones life because of a line crossed. 

The bottom line is Medellin and Colombia are still dangerous.  Pablado, where we lived, is relatively safe but outside this little bubble you can find yourself in harms way. Somehow though it does all work for the Colombians who live and work here.  The gangs, cartels and drug lords work together to create a sense of normal in a city that is still recovering from anything but normal. 

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If you travel to Medellin you will find beautiful people inside and out.  This modern and thriving city is full of young people going to work, dressed to the nines in high rise buildings with women wearing high heeled shoes attached to legs and bodies that will make your head spin.  Caroline turns to me with her big beautiful eyes and says…”Where does that booty even come from?” 

You could wake up, look out and think you are in Seattle, Vancouver or Denver.  Just  like these fine cities you will have the pleasure to smell the distinct smell of Colombian Marijuana.  No, we didn’t taste it but the smell is distinct bringing back memories of another day.   

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Medellin, Colombia

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