I just want to post some pictures to say how much I love taking zumba classes. Today I can barely move because I've been doing sports everyday for over a week, but I just like it so much. Zumba classes with D are the the perfect way to learn how to dance the Colombian way, I swear it's not the same thing than doing Zumba in Europe. I think I still look more or less ridiculous compared to the Colombian girls in my group but I'm getting better each time. Besides, I like a lot this small town way of doing things: the teacher knows all of us, we are all friends and we do things together outside the classes as well. It's so different from going to a gym, participating in a class and then just leaving. Like in Jamaica, the dancers here form a tight community, and it's nice to be part of it now and get to meet new people all the time. And it is great to have time to go dancing almost everyday, easy life is so good.
Here are some pictures to show how much fun we always have:
Turning 26, enjoying every second of my life. Love it! :)
This past year has been a year full of adventures. Being 25 I traveled to Asia, Middle East and South/Latin America for the first time. I discovered many amazing and exotic countries such as China, Japan, Oman, Jamaica, Cuba, Brazil, and of course Colombia. I wrote another Master thesis and graduated from Uni with top grades. I worked with Microsoft, became a geek and had the best co-workers ever. Seriously, I've never had that much fun at work. I also discovered working in the education field and for a non profit organization. I like it a lot and I've fallen in love with the kids in La Boquilla. I got hit by a car on a casual morning run, was in Paris during the November 13 attacks, and got into a terrifying situation (guns involved) while visiting a favela in Brazil. I learnt that anything can happen and I do my best to enjoy and appreciate life every day. I had 4 very good friends move away from Paris and then eventually I left as well and am still in Colombia. I went on dates with can't remember how many guys but still didn't find my prince charming. Instead I made at least 50 new good friends and learnt a lot about myself and about what I want to do in life. I spent countless wonderful moments with people I love, and I hope I will keep doing exactly the same being 26.
First things first, we have started to celebrate our birthdays with S. This of course fully enjoying the fact that we are in Colombia, by the Caribbean Sea and under the ever so shining sun: with a beach party and a pool party. However, I will wait until my actual birthday (on Thursday!) to write about that, stay tuned.
Right now I just wanted to share some random Colombian things with you, that are again beyond my understanding, and that I find hilarious. I realized I don’t have any pictures of what I’m writing about so I will have to post some others just to make this post more colourful.
Friday night, time to relax, in the mood for going out for a drink. But... where? In your home town or traveling to a new city, the problem is always the same. There are so many bars around, and yet there aren't. You read about nice places on your way to work, you pass by nice places on an evening run or when walking your dog. But when it's time to go out, you suddenly can't think of anything, even less of anything new or exciting (and that is exactly why I always end up in La Perle, no seriously I just like it too much). Well I'm about to make your life a lot easier, at least if you happen to be in one of the 7 cities that made it to my list.
I'm falling hard in love with my home town, more and more every day. Even if I still think that Paris is the most beautiful city in the world, Cartagena is lovely in its own way and living by the sea is just amazing, it's magical. I've gotten so used to it now that I can't picture anymore not being able to see, smell and feel the ocean every day. Thus, enjoying it while I still can. Today I spent some time at S's swimming pool as I do every Sunday. S was not there because she is traveling but the friendly doorman let me in anyway. For hours I had the pool all for myself so I went swimming and did some aqua gym, and then just read my Colombia guide in the sunshine.
I'm still avoiding taxis as much as I can, in order to save money, so I walked to Bocagrande and back. I could have taken a bus though but I prefer walking, especially in the evening when it's cooler and the air is fresh. I also feel that I've gained some weight lately, don't know why (or yes I have an idea, when I was not drinking alcohol I magically lost weight and now I've had drinks too often, have to change my habits), so all extra exercise is good. Now that I have a phone again, I took pictures of my walk back, as I said last week that I would. It was a little bit cloudy so not as pretty as last time but I loved the seaside views anyway, take a look.
Day 131, Cartagena: I'm trying to make you jealous with this list of my favourite moments. Did I succeed?
I like so much my Friday afternoon writing sessions. And today after my surfing class when I was waiting for the bus I stopped to think about my life and once again I came to the conclusion that I just love living in Cartagena. I like it so much that I am really getting sad because I only have two months left in Colombia. But at the same time I'm happy and enjoying my everyday-life so much that I can't really be sad. Nostalgic or wistful could be a better word.
While I'm having lunch and writing this, my new phone is charging and in configuration at Mac Center. These more than four days without a phone has been surprisingly ok. At first I was annoyed and going crazy trying to have my Lumia fixed but after I accepted that that is not going to happen before I get back to France, I have felt very relaxed and on holidays. It is quite nice actually to be disconnected. No Whatsapp, no Tinder, no idea what time it is, no taking pictures all the time. I've also noticed that I don't have any trouble waking up without an alarm. The only thing I miss is listening to music on the bus but instead I just watch outside from the window. Anyway, my new phone is almost in my hands and soon I will be able to take pictures again!
Waiting for that, here comes a list over things that I love the most about my life in Cartagena. Little moments when I couldn't feel happier and when I realize that the life I'm currently living is beyond awesome. Enjoy simple things and so on. Take a look and share your own favorites in comments.
I already wrote one post about my weekend that started on Friday: paddle boarding, then dinner and drinks with my new friend A. Except for the problems I have with my phone(s), it was a perfectly fun, relaxing and enjoyable day. On Saturday I went to my home beach in Marbella for a while, and once again was so happy about living so close to the beach. No planning or preparation needed, just put on your bikini, grab your towel and two minutes later you're there. In the evening I went with some friends to a house party in La Boquilla, and Sunday's program was a boat trip to Playa Blanca, swimming pool, and a walk home in the sunset. The days when I was a student and spent my weekends working at a smoothie bar, or doing homework and writing my thesis (or desperately trying to motivate myself to do homework or write my theses) seem so far away. It's funny how fast you get used to easy life. :)
Thursday was so one of these very Colombian days: problems with the bus in the morning and in the afternoon, and at work problems with alternating internet, air conditioning or electricity. Very efficient working, so I spent the whole morning singing with the kids. The temperature in our office went the whole day from very hot to very cold and as result I am now sick with a sore throat. Then my Colombian sim card stopped working and without me knowing, my phone managed to connect to the internet with my French sim card (100 euros to pay, thank you). I was tired and frustrated and, in addition, still feeling anxious about what happened in Brazil. All I wanted to do was go home and cry so I left from work. I know that these are just minor first world problems and that for example the people who live in La Boquilla don't even have things like internet, air-conditioning or smartphones. But still, you get my point. As if this was not enough to make me loose my mind, in the evening my Lumia suddenly started blinking in green an yellow lights and then died completely. So from now on, this blog is without pictures, except if take some very bad ones with my old iPhone, which stills works but barely. Yesterday morning I woke up exhausted (mum, I had the stress dream again, the one that you have as well, where you try to travel but never get there), and I was not excited about my surfing class. However, I figured that it could not make me feel worse so I went. Of course, there were not enough waves for surfing so I couldn't have my class. My teacher F suggested we go paddleboarding instead and I'm happy he did because it was a lot of fun and made me feel so much better. Thank you F!
I am back in Cartagena, and happy about that. On Sunday night we went with S and some other friends on an evening cruise around the city (it really is great that she works at a travel agency and is my personal tourist guide). The cruise was for free but all passengers had to buy rice and diapers that would be sent by boat to Ecuador, to help the victims of the earthquake. Thus it was for a very good reason that we spent our evening chilling on a catamaran, dancing and admiring our beautiful home town in the evening light.
Day 108, airport time: My life in Cartagena is starting to look like a happy routine, so it is time to go for a little adventure - in Brazil!
I haven’t been blogging for a while, I know. But thanks for all the page views and (Facebook) likes every time I post, it makes me happy!
After Semana Santa my life in Cartagena has fallen back into it’s routines and it feels like if I had been living here for a lot longer than two months. However, now it is time to take a turn and explore a new country. And not just any country, but Brazil! I’m writing this post at the airport in Bogota, and soon I’ll be boarding the plane to Sao Paulo. From there I will travel to Rio de Janeiro and reunite with two dear friends of mine, M and M: The Spanish M who you already know from this blog, and also Australian M, whom I haven’t seen since December, when she came to Finland for my graduation. I’m so looking forward to this trip and I can guarantee that with these two girls it will be fun!
I'm Emilia, Finnish-Parisian, a recent Master's graduate. I'm currently traveling around the Caribbean and on a volunteering mission in Colombia. I'm passionate about writing, music and different kinds of sports. I can't wait to discover new places and cultures - and share my adventures with you!