After picking up my bag from baggage claim, I turned around and saw my host, Gaby, and her dad, Camilo. It had been exactly a year since I hosted Gaby at Athenian and we were both so excited to see each other again. On our way home, we stopped at one of the only bagel stores in Bogota (since Gaby knows how much I love bagels), and then to the apartment that I now call home. One of the first things I noticed was how aggressive the driving is here. Despite it being 6:30 AM, there was already a significant amount of traffic and drivers honking every two minutes.
The day after my arrival in Bogota, my host family and I hopped on another plane to the beautiful Caribbean coast of Colombia. We stayed in the old city of Cartagena for one week. This was a very peaceful and relaxing way for me to assimilate into Colombian culture and get to know my host family. Some of my favorite memories from Cartagena were walking around the old city to get ice cream or pastries with Gaby and Lucas, her younger brother.
After an amazing week in Cartagena, we flew back and began school at Colegio Los Nogales. After an early 5:00 AM wake-up and an hour commute to school, I was immediately greeted by my exchange mentor, Paula, and by the other exchange students, Kelly and Ingrid (from Beijing and Denmark). My host introduced me to all of her friends during recess and we all got along so well. Everyone at Nogales is so welcoming and helpful, which made it very easy for me to make friends and feel comfortable.
On the weekends, we usually drive to other parts of Bogota to go shopping or have lunch. Some of my favorite places are Boho, which has many cute cafes and flea-market stands, and Andino, which is similar to Walnut Creek. Last weekend, I went with the other exchanges to a country house in Cajica, which is about two hours away from Bogota. We had a barbeque and fondue and spent a lot of time playing with Salma’s dogs. The country house was near a forest and had breathtaking views of the mountains.
At the time I am writing this, my exchange is about halfway over. I am very excited to see what is in store for these next few weeks.