I am back in Barranquilla, my old home, for the first time in five months. It is wonderful being back. Everything feels so familiar still; it really feels so much more like home to me than Bogotá does. Although perhaps that will change in a few months.
I went to my old school where I taught last year, Los Corales, and I saw my students and a lot of teachers I knew from last year. I loved seeing my kids, and they were so excited to see me, they all ran up and gave me a big hug. I spent some time with them, and actually ended up having a class period with them because the religion teacher couldn’t come. It was a really nice feeling being back in the classroom with my kids. They’re a handful, and teaching is a lot of work, but I also really enjoyed working as a Kindergarten teacher.
Something I forgot but was just reminded of are the little geckos that live here—they’re the coolest. You can hear them making little squeaky noises in the apartment, and every once in a while you see one run across the wall or the ceiling. I really like these little guys, they’re so cute, and they eat the mosquitoes. The one thing I definitely haven’t missed is the mosquitoes. I’ve been bitten about eight times already.
I’ve also really been enjoying seeing my friends from the coast. One of my roommates from last year, a gringa, is still living here, so I’m staying with her and her new roommates. This weekend I plan on going to one of my favorite places to dance in Colombia, La Troja. It’s all salsa, and you can see some really amazing dancing. I also plan on going to the beach, if it doesn’t rain!
Everything just feels so much more relaxed here. A lot of that has to do with the weather; the average temperature is 80°F (27°C), and because there are way fewer people here than in Bogotá. There’s no real hustle and bustle here, like in Bogotá.
Everyone at school was asking me, so which do you like better, Bogotá or Barranquilla? And the truth is, I really can’t say. I love them both. They are both such distinct cities; there are things I like and dislike about each one. The same is true of my job in Barranquilla and jobs in Bogotá; they both have their good and bad.
I like the tranquil feeling of the coast, the fact that I feel more comfortable and safer here, the hot weather, and I love, love, love comida consteña (food from the coast). But I also love what a big city Bogotá is (except during rush hour), that there is so much to do there, so much culture, and the feeling of being a part of so much activity.
I loved living in Barranquilla, and I’m so happy to come back and visit, but Bogotá is where I want to be right now. While I like the relaxed feeling of Barranquilla, it can also quickly turn into a feeling of restlessness. What I really wish is that Bogotá and Barranquilla would remain exactly as they are but be right next to each other, so that I could just move fluidly between them. Obviously this is a futile wish, but I can’t help imagining how cool it would be if it were to come true.