A Day at the Gold Museum

Gold Museum

Sundays are lazy days in Bogotá. Many places are closed and there is little to no traffic on the streets – quite the contrast to the traffic jams that occur during the week.

Museums, however, are one of the few places open on a Sunday, and the Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) is even free on Sundays, making it one of my favorite plans on this idle day. Continue reading


Beginning of Novenas

Today is December 16, and in Colombia, on this day begins the Christmas tradition of novenas. Every night for the nine nights before Christmas, Colombians celebrate novenas, and so I will be writing a blog post every day about Colombian Christmas traditions. Happy Holidays!

So what are novenas? Literally the word means “ninths,” for the nine days of celebration before Christmas. From December 16 – December 24, family and friends gather in a different person’s home each night to eat traditional Colombian Christmas food, sing Christmas carols in front of the nativity set (in Spanish, pesebre), and drink traditional holiday beverages.

Novenas are traditionally a religious custom; the nine days are symbolic of Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus, and families gather to pray in front of the nativity scene. Some families continue this tradition, but also, especially for younger people, novenas are a time to gather together, eat, and drink.

Top 5 Things I Miss from the Coast

Flag of Barranquilla

Today is my last day in Barranquilla; I go back to Bogotá tonight. The next time I’ll be here will be for CARNAVALES! I can’t wait. I’m excited to go back to Bogotá, but there are some things from Barranquilla that I have really missed, so I want to share my top five.  Continue reading


This past weekend, Friday through Monday, ArtBo, an International Art Fair was held here in Bogotá. ArtBo is an exhibition of art galleries and artists held annually in Corferias in Bogotá for the last seven years, this year from October 21 through October 24.

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Día de la Raza

Tomorrow, October 17, is a national holiday in Colombia, which means hooray! No work. Día de la Raza, or Day of the Races/Day of Ethnicity, is the Colombian celebration of Christopher Columbus Day. Before 1983 it was celebrated on the second Monday in October, as in the US, but a law changed it to move to the following Monday. Continue reading

The Art of Translation

Translation Tools

My first experience with translation was in French class during college. My professor did an exercise with us where we had to first translate an excerpt of a book from French to English, and then another excerpt from English to French. He then showed us translations of the two pieces that had been done by professionals so that we could compare.

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Bus Etiquette in Colombia

Bus in Bogotá

Do you ever pay attention to how people interact on buses? Or public transportation in general? It’s quite an interesting microcosm, if you think about it; all of these strangers squeezed into a tight place, arms, shoulders, legs, and butts all touching with people you’ve never met before and will probably never see again.

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¿Como te llamas?

Over a year ago when I first arrived in Barranquilla, I was at school setting up my Kindergarten classroom. I had to make name cards for my kids´ desks. One of my little girls was named Maria García Rojas, but her name was too long to fit on the card, so I just wrote Maria García, thinking it was no problem. I was wrong.

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Job Interviews in Colombia

Recently I have gone on two job interviews, one in a school and one in a university, and wow, interview questions (at least in my experience) in Colombia are way different from those in the States. I have never felt so interrogated in my life.

The first interview was with a school for a 10th and 11th grade English teaching position. The interview began with a personality assessment test called the Wartegg test. Personally, I think personality tests and quizzes to “find out about yourself” are completely bogus. Basically, they are the same as fortune-telling. Occasionally what they say will be true, but usually it’s just luck or coincidence. I really dislike tests trying to tell me about me.

Wartegg Personality Assessment

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Too close?

I mentioned briefly in my last post the difference of the lack of personal space here. This, I believe, is a very big difference. In Colombia, people live with their families until they get married, which is generally not until their late twenties-early thirties. In the States, we’re outta there at the age of eighteen. (Maybe not financially, depending, but out of our parents’ houses as soon as we are able.) To me, this speaks a lot about the individualism of the US versus the family- and community-oriented culture of Colombia, and Latin America in general.

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