Gabriela Langruen

When I arrived in Bogota it was 5:40 AM and for me 3:30 AM, so needless to say I was tired. Even so, I was ready for the five weeks I would spend here. The next morning I started getting ready at 5 for the bus to pick me up at 6. Here school begins at 7, so naturally bus schedules are also earlier. I was still slightly disoriented from waking up early with the two-hour time difference. Once I arrived at school, I started being introduced to the rest of my new classmates. Everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming, telling me to ask them if I ever needed any help. That first day I was able to get a tour of the school, which I found to be very different from ours. In California we’re constantly surrounded by Hills; our school is on the base of Mount Diablo. Here, although there are surrounding hills, they aren’t as prominent, rather something to look at in the distance. 

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That first day was mostly meeting new people and getting introduced constantly. I had previously talked with my host family to arrange for classes I took outside of school. After school on Mondays and Fridays I have piano lessons, while my Tuesday afternoons consist of going to an art studio. 

I’ve had the opportunity to see some parts of Bogota. Compared to Danville, where I’m used to living, this was a big change. I was able to visit two malls in different parts of the city, one called Santa Barbara and another Santa Fe. Both are really big with lots of shops to explore. I was able to go to an artisans’ market where people set up shops to sell their handmade keychains, jewelry, bags, and shoes. It is a great place to buy gifts for all my family and friends. Living in the city I’ve seen how practical it is for the people here to order food. My host family doesn’t even go to the supermarket, since they can just order it all online and it arrives in ten minutes. 

After finishing a week in school, my host family brought me to Cajica, a town an hour outside of the city. There they have a house, or fincas as they call them here, where we stayed. The place we stayed had a small lake where I could walk around and pretty views. In front of their house was the grandparent’s house, and I got to meet them as well. In Colombia, and most Latin countries, people are very close to their families, and everybody lives fairly close to each other. I’ve already met many cousins, aunts, and uncles. All of them frequently hold big reunions to celebrate special occasions or simply to see each other. 

I’ve already had lots of great experiences and made memories with friends. I’m looking forward to my remaining weeks in Bogotá.