Friday, October 28, 2011

Bogotá, Colombia (tres) / Ibagué, Colombia (cuatro)

Last weekend we went to Bogotá, and it was so nice to get out of Ibagué and have a change of pace and scenery.

We travelled up on the Friday evening and left late-afternoon Sunday, and in-between lots of fun was had. The main reason for the visit was because ICYE Colombia was celebrating its 30th anniversary on the Saturday. They booked out a big function room at a restaurant and invited a couple of hundred people; there was champagne, dinner, dancing, a couple of speeches, and lots and lots of free alcohol.

For me the best part was meeting up with other volunteers living elsewhere in Colombia and catching up; exchanging stories about our projects, families and respective cities (or in some cases, villages!)

I didn't really do that much whilst I was in Bogotá, but it was fun just to hang out with a different set of people and do something different. One thing we did do was make a trip to the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogota (MAMBO), which was pretty interesting, although I was very disappointed to find that the shop was shut. Don't people realise the best thing about visiting a gallery is buying postcards of your favourite art afterwards?!
On our way to and from the gallery we also had the pleasure of experiencing Bogotán weather - cold rain and lots of it! - which I really hadn't missed.

You may have noticed from my tone in this and my last post that I'm not feeling entirely positive about my life in Colombia right now. I think after the bustle and goings-on of Buenos Aires and Bogotá, living in a place like Ibagué, with not much going on feels a little flat and disappointing. It doesn't help that we (me and the other two volunteers) have been struggling to make a firm set of friends here.

Still, I have to make this perfectly clear: despite the loneliness and frustration I have sometimes felt, missing family and friends like you wouldn't believe, and the difficulty in learning a new language, this is hands-down one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life and I'm so glad I made it. And I've been trying to focus on the positives: I have a great project here, the weather's nice and the night-life can be pretty rowdy! I've also got some really fun weekend trips coming up, a visit from a friend in December, and then I have almost a month off for the holidays, so there's a lot to look forward to.

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