Day 81, Cartagena: Some things don't change... Like my love for sports, chocolate and afternoon chats with a girlfriend.
I realised some time ago that I was trying too much to live like I lived in Paris: a big circle of friends, going out for dinner or drinks almost every night, running around like crazy in order to do as much as possible. These past years I had gotten used to a busy life: between school, work, sports, friends, dates and so on I rarely had time to just be on my own and relax, and if I wanted to do that I had to book a time for it in my agenda. I love the big city life and I miss it, at least some parts of it. I miss the feeling of never being bored, never being lonely and never having to plan my weekends much in advance because my best friends would always be available and we would do something together. When I decided to leave everything and move to the Caribbean I knew that my life would change, and that was exactly what I wanted. In December when I started this blog I promised that I would take it easy, relax and enjoy simple life. Sometimes I forget about that but luckily there is J, who reminds me when I do. But hey, it's not easy changing your life-style all of a sudden!
While traveling in Cuba I was fine because I stayed active, kept changing places all the time and met many locals and other tourists. Then the first weeks in Cartagena went by in a flash because everything was new: new city, new apartments, new job and so on. But when the first bustle was over it suddenly hit me: I am in a new place and I know barely anyone here, what am I going to do? So I started looking for other foreigners from Facebook, I reactivated my Tinder and I went on dates with guys I was not even interested in, only to fill my evenings with something to do. I felt like I had to live like in Paris, surrounded by people and always active. Then I got disappointed when I didn't get along with everyone I met, and I felt lonely. Until one day when I decided to stop. I realised that I was doing it all wrong and that I was not living the Caribbean life I had planned to. Since then I spend a big part of my free-time doing sports, reading books, watching movies and going alone walking and to beaches. I must say I feel so much more peaceful and less stressed when I don't force myself to do anything that seems too difficult.
However, some things don't change. In Paris I enjoyed participating in classes at Club Med Gym, here I found a place called Ciudad Movil, where I can do yoga and zumba. The beginning of this week at work was very tiring and it felt like the world was against me. The Internet connection was super slow and our dropbox folders caught a virus so going to work was a waste of time. Also the kids, even if they usually are adorable, were wild and behaved very badly in my classes. By Tuesday afternoon I was going crazy and needed a break. So after work I went to do yoga and then strolling around in the center. I found a nice park where I had never been before so I stayed for a while and read a book. I felt serene and zen, and a lot like in Paris on a warm summer evening.
And once again, when you don't force things they tend to happen naturally. I stopped looking for friends but I find myself spending more and more time with S, whom I like a lot. I also love hanging out with my roommate A, and yesterday I had coffee again with an American girl, D, who is super nice as well. Having a few good friends to spend time with every now and then is all I need, and the rest of the time I enjoy being on my own. Yesterday I couldn't have been happier to meet up with D, who took me to her favorite café (my favorite now as well), called Mila. Some girl talk and heavenly good chocolate cake was exactly what I needed to forget about work and everything else that was bothering me. Regardless of where in the world I am, nothing beats an afternoon pause café in good company! :)
And of course, even if sometimes at work I'm about to loose my mind, as soon as I step out from the office and see this view, I feel better. I can't think of a better place to wait for a bus!
Now I will take some time off from Cartagena, and hop on a plane to explore the capital, Bogota. Next week is Semana Santa and I have some holidays from work so I will travel to Santa Marta and Palomino. Even if I was tired of moving around when I came here, that was long time ago (5 weeks already!) and I'm now ready to travel again!
Read the next story here.
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!