Touched down in QuillaTown! :D

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Heeeeeeey!! I´m hoooooome :D

After a lovely few days staying at Royal MetroPark Hotel in Bogota with my team (who I miss dearly….) I have moved up to the Caribbean coast, my new home for the next 10 months.


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I´m now officially a Language Assistant at Universidad del Norte. Along with new bestie Callum a.k.a DonGringo.

Had the most insane flight to Barranquila where the plane attempted to land then due to strong winds, had to pull up again before coming in for a shaky landing. I think my fingerprints are moulded into the seat handles forever! :D

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WE GOT A WELCOME NOTE AT THE AIRPORT, WHOOP WHOOP!!

From the airport, we met our helper/new homie Marian who has been showin us around the city for the past 2 days. We walked around the amazing campus of Uni Norte (which has a cinema, restaurantes and even a hair salon ON CAMPUS!!). We also met some of the team we will be working with inc Sarah from Fulbright. :D

Then later on in the day we were shown to our homestays and given time to settle in.

On Thursday it was a Bank Holiday (19 per year!) so I decided to check out the local shopping centre BuenaVista, was a nice place with various clothes shops and restaurants. Good AirCon too!! I braved a bus there and back which was interesting, I made it there fine however on the way back I thought I was lost and got off to get a taxi, only to find I was a few blocks away!!! NEXT TIME I WILL MAKE IT ALL THE WAY!!

 

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<3´in my new Colombia Bling!

I´m currently living with a lovely Colombian family which consists of a couple, their Daughter and Grandaughter. Although the set -up is ideal to get used to Barranquilla itself, I know i´m going to want more privacy and closer social circle. Decided to try and find an apartment with Callum as we have a similar vibe.

Mission: Bachelor vs Bachelorette pad (2 Bed Apt)

SO IF ANYONE HAS ANY CONTACTS…… HOLLA AT YOUR CHICA!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Touched down in QuillaTown! 😀 was originally published on The Many Words Of Aic3la

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These cases WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!!!!

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Heathrow beware…… This could be a potential reality for you to check in for me!

I swear  I have been at these things all week and I don’t whether I have case anxiety or I just can’t be asked to get done…… My previous track record in terms of packing has been far from minimal to say the least but this time I want at least pack logically (i.e. 1 pair of heels and 1 pair of trainers MAYBE! instead of day heels, club/dinner heels and my infamous ‘show-off trainers’ and my neglected gym runners).

Not to mention the art of rolling your clothes around your toiletries and making sure you won’t need them BEFORE you leave!!

Also everyone always forgets extra bags! I mean weekend bags, little black bags, work bags and etc, I know I’m a bit of  flashpacker if that but jeez these things r important and bring comfort away from home.

When I say toiletries I’m putting my fro maintenance jewels in that category, I managed to braid back the beast so can deal with it at a later date….. (queue future Super Sayan Battle)

Either way, whatever happens……

IT’S OFFICIALLY THREE DAYS UNTIL TAKE OFF!!!!!!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!

 

 

 

These cases WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!!!! was originally published on The Many Words Of Aic3la

Excitement is OVER!! Barranquilla, Let’s do this!!!

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Soooooo after months of waiting and waiting I attended my pre departure orientation with anticipation to find out that I have been placed on the Caribbean coast in Barranquilla!!!

Years on perving on Colombia, I must admit that my heart has always leaned towards this culturally expressive region of the country. Between Cartagena and Santa Marta,  The Gabriel Garcia Marquez museum, close the the San Andreas islands and of course HOME OF CARNAVAL :D it couldn’t be more of a dream come true ❤

I will be arriving in the Bogota, 2nd August for orientation then on the 6th of August it’s a quick zoom up to my new destination! As yet I haven’t sorted out permanent accommodation but will be staying with my tutor until I settle in and etc.

I was almost in tears when I found out where I was going. 3 years ago when I made the decision to go to Mexico instead I could have never imagine I would get a 2nd chance at the same dream ❤

Moral of the story: NEVER GIVE UP YOUR DREAMS!

P.S. Any advice or recommendations on life in the ‘Quilla’?? I haven’t even looked at my suitcases yet as the love is yet to grow for the dragging battles ahead but I can imagine it will be a 2 case job plus hand luggage. (Quite an improvement considering I took 4 CASES to Cuba and 2 BIG CASES to Mexico….. ) Bit of a flashpacker i know hahaha

Would be good to hear from peeps! :D Gracias in advance.

 

 

 

 

Excitement is OVER!! Barranquilla, Let’s do this!!! was originally published on The Many Words Of Aic3la

What are WE waiting for???

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What are WE waiting for???

In a world where are have been brainwashed into instant gratification, WHAT ARE WE STILL WAITING FOR TO MAKE A CHANGE THAT LASTS????

Growing up in London, as a young woman (I’m not bringing race into this) I was exposed to a lot of things that I didn’t know how to interpret yet didn’t have the time to make an educated decision because I was already present.

You can’t revise life like you do for an exam, more than likely you are going to be thrown into life situations that no-one can prepare you for at a times when you are most vulnerable.

Teenage years are one of the most compelling times in anyone’s life yet completing this era is becoming as endangered as rhinos in the wild.

We are told to grow up yet we are expected to know what to without being taught. Most people make an educated decision based on another person’s experience before finding unbiased information which has resulted in a us SURVIVING in a world gravitating to TAKE TAKE TAKE.

I am a woman so I will never understand the plights of boys or young men growing up but I will say that at some point in time we have to come together and create families which is scary because the values we have are all experience based without knowledge.

I’m sick of being scared for the sun to shine because there is a chance that young people will die due to street violence.

I love the sun so much yet the problems it causes breaks my heart.

I’m sick of being told not to have parties because the fear of the unknown visitor outweighs my want for happiness.

Not because I’m naive but because I don’t want to see any more bloodshed with my naked eye.

I’m sick of the media and statistics blaming young people for their failures as a social power.

How do you expect us to be inspired if our futures are plagued with debts? The amount of dirty money pumping through the system is disgusting. With rising property prices and over population, it’s sad to say the streets are holding too much value and people are dying for every single paving stone.

I was blessed enough to hear a short presentation by 2 young men using their lives to try and create a better future, they were not there to sugar coat life yet they were not being overly clouded.

They touched on the turbulent fight to have places where they could help elevate young people in basic life skills and the fact the our older generations have let us down by allowing problems to worsen by turning a blind eye. I was personally compelled to what they had to say, not because i had been through the same but I respect the reality that they put forward.

They weren’t trying to gain fans or rounds of applause, they fact they were still alive was applause enough to them.

We are told to respect our elders but respect is mutual and I was shocked to see the attitudes of some grown ups, if roles were reversed I know the discipline would have rolled right out. Sad because are they people who are supposed to set us an example…..

I managed to speak to both men afterwards and congratulate them on their successes, they are so humble and down to earth. I’m positive there plenty of other mentors and examples out there, who want a better present and past and with people like them trying to make a difference however small the change, it WILL come…..

SO

WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR????????????

Personal Thank you to Bilal and Robyn, Keep up the good work dudes. Inspiration to say the least.

Life-changing month ahead!! Colombia or Mexico

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Heeelllllloooooo people!!! Yes it’s me! Not the reviewing this time, signing in purely for chatter purposes!

Thought I’d get back to blogging as I’m potentially in for some show stopping news…… (love the showstoppers lol)
If you have followed me over the past 2 years you remember my life took a drastic turn for the worst due to illness and I had to turn down of a teaching job in Honduras. I’m pleased to say that I am fully recovered and eager to get back out into the world and dive into more cultures.

All I love to do is travel, meet people and teach…. it gives me an adrenaline rush just thinking about it.

Well the news is that I am in the process of waiting for a response from the British Council regarding a potential placement abroad in either Colombia or Mexico!! I have dreamt about my next adventure since I landed back in London in 2012 and I’m on tenterhooks at the thought of another take off!!

Depending on how my teaching profile is reviewed I could be placed in either country for a potential 11 months as an English Language Assistant. I have heard so much about the program and what it has to offer. Can’t wait to find out more, inc my new destination!

When I find out, I’ll be sure to fill y’all in!!!
xoxo

Plantain or Plátano…..

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Plantain or Plátano?

As the title suggests, even though language separates them immensely there is no denying that Latinos and Afro Caribbean people have a lot of things in common.
Discovered or re-discovered as’The New World’ in 1492, this area of the world is famous for its care-free lifestyle, its tropical climate and welcoming people to name but a few, however there are many similarities that people many not have been exposed to making these neighbours, almost flatmates.

Historical
On that infamous wrong turn (Originally bound for Asia!), Christopher Columbus amongst others, introduced European Colonizers to the Caribbean and South America as a new land waiting to be governed. From the brutal slave trade connecting West Africa to the islands and mainland to the Spanish Encomienda system in Cuba, from the start Latinos and Caribbeans have shared memories of imperialism at its worst. It is well known that countries such as Cuba and Brazil had a vast number of slaves brought over to work on various plantations but there were also prominent numbers of African slaves taken other colonies in Ecuador, Mexico and Peru for the similar purposes, in turn creating pockets of African culture in these countries The Amerindians, the Aztecs and other native groups were forced into a system of slavery in order to make the region profitable and from this we see one of the earliest similarities between the cultures.

Geographical
When someone says they are going to the Caribbean, the most common assumption would draw to islands such as Jamaica, St Lucia or Trinidad however the Caribbean diaspora goes as far as the Mexico across Central America and down into the South American continent. There are 30 Modern-Day islands territories including Cuba and the Dominican Republic making them a part of the physiological structure of the Caribbean however regions such as the UNESCO protected Garifuna culture and the Mosquito coast of Central America to Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina of Colombia can’t be denied to influence of the Caribbean Sea upon their lands. The fact that in 2009 Peru officially apologized to Afro- Peruvians for the devastation caused by slavery across history shows that African presence definitely made a huge impact on their country and culture and in many parts is still alive today. We can also see the that geography plays little part in the cultures of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana who are all run by foreign department regardless of being on the South American Continent. Therefore the Caribbean is not just a chain of islands; the most accurate definition has to include multiple Hispanic countries as well.

Musical
The 90’s created a rebellious musical movement around the Caribbean and Latin America. From the influence of the USA and the desire to create their own identity music genres of Dancehall and Reggaeton were created. Infamous for their sexually charged lyrics and infamous dances such as the ‘Dutty Wine’ and ‘El Perréo’ the two genres have gained a lot of enemies, blaming them for social problems such as increased peer pressure, drug use and glorifying vigilante behaviour. Another theme up for debate is the degrading of women, many of the songs talk about infidelity, domestic violence and promiscuity as a common theme which has caused protests all over the region. This being said we can’t deny the percentage of female liberation these genres have inspired. In a society very much controlled by Catholism, Latin American women found comfort in women such as Ivy Queen and the late Jenni Riviera who spoke about current issues affecting young Latinas as well as giving them power in a ‘macho’ society. Though very different culturally, Grammy Winning Jamaican vocalist ‘Lady Saw’ did the same for young women of Jamaica, being the first women to rap within a male dominated genre and even gave brought the importance of safe sex to a very conservative island. However we interpret the controversial genres there is a prominent common ground in both culture’s approach to rebellion and equal rights.

Gastronomical
Food is one of the biggest evidences of cultural assimilation that can be found in both cultures. There is no doubt that if you visit any Latin American or Caribbean you will be offered a meal that includes the staple diet of ‘rice and peas’ or ‘Arroz con Frijoles’. Whether it is the economic popularity of the dish or the caloric benefits the two have cemented themselves into the cultures. The tropical climate has also made way for a number of snacks to be made in a similar way. The ‘baleada’ or the ‘Arepa’ are easily compared to the ‘Fried Dumpling’ or ‘Pattie’ due to their easy preparation and wide range of variations. However the most popular connection between the two diets has to be the ‘Plantain’ or ‘El Plátano’. This starchy banana can be boiled, mashed, fried, roasted or chipped, you will find a bunch on almost every Latino and Caribbean shopping lists. At any stage of maturation you will find a recipe including this staple food from the abundant plantain chips to the tasty chapo juice containing blended plantains.
These are just a few examples of how the two cultures have come to be almost identical although linguistically they could not be further apart so next time you pick up a plantain just think of you are holding they key to the assimilation of Latin American and Caribbean culture.

(This Article is based on my own personal opinion and research do not wish to offend anyone, just putting some food for thought out there….)

Let me know what you think!
xoxo