Last week I felt so at peace and great, but this week was a bit different. The two girls from my Spanish class were moving on and immediately on Monday that confronted me. A group of my level of Spanish wasn’t available so they put me in a more advanced class and were confinced I would be okay there because I learn really quickly. They offered me next to this 2 private coaching sessions in order to focus on the stuff I missed by skipping one class. At first this gave me a boost and I felt proud like “woohoo, I’m a quick learner and they think I’m good!!” 😁 The group was with 2 guys and another really great teacher. I was surprised of how I felt while learning something new again, studying and using my brain! It felt good. However, there were so many new things we learned in class and I didn’t master yet what I learned from the week before so as you can imagine my head kind of explode.. 😨 After every class I was so tired, it drained my energy and it made me feel frustrated that I didn’t know everything. It was difficult for me to see the bigger picture there.
I know that to learn a new language you need to practice a lot and make many mistakes in order to get familiar with it, but this feeling of being in a country and not mastering the language makes me so insecure. It’s not just a holiday I’m here for, I’m here to discover another side of the world, learn about the culture, connect with local people, feeling like I can mean something to the community and live my life in a different way than back home. That’s what I want, but it’s pretty damn difficult if you don’t speak the same language! As you all know me, I’m an outgoing person, love to talk, so not knowing the language gives me the feeling I can’t be 100% myself..
From the start of being here in Medellin I’m keeping myself quite busy. My new Colombian friend, Juan Pablo, I met on a language exchange event said to me; “It feels like you’re trying to create a normal life here in Envigado like you had in Holland” and he is so true! Because I felt at home really quickly here, I tried to make it like home. Having a routine of going to school, study, meet up with friends, walk around my neighborhood etc. I don’t really give myself the space to just be where I am and relax.. Interesting he?! I started my trip to be/feel free like a bird, but it turned out this week I don’t even let myself free. The feeling of freedom makes me feel confused because I’m all the time thinking “what do I want, where do I want to go??” And the only thing I can answer to it is “I don’t know!!” I’m constantely busy with the next thing without enjoying what is already there…
So, it wasn’t a surprise for me, now when I reflect on it, that at the end of this school week I had a moment of feeling sad and lonely 😔 I needed a proper hug from somebody who loves me.. I gave myself the space to feel what I felt and just let it out. This was good and felt like a relief. I was pushing myself too hard in needing to learn Spanish. I didn’t let myself feel insecure because I don’t like that feeling. It reminds me of periods in my life which I rather don’t look back at. However, in order to move on I have to look back, be kind to myself and take the days one by one.. ☺ ‘Don’t rush Nadine, every decision you make is good, because it’s yours’ I shared my feelings and the need of a hug with my friend Juan Pablo. We’re very open and honest with each other and he gave me nice hug yesterday. I felt so much better afterwards!! I know now that I’m a real hugger 😉 Back home I hugged so many people so yeah here it can feel a bit lonely when you don’t have a person to hug with..
Something else what I experienced in the last couple of days is that it’s so easy to get caught up with everything around you. I really like walking around the town where I live right now. I walked through some different streets this week and a lot of things are happening around here! Every day there are lots of people on the streets and squares, so many little shops (for shoes, clothes, random stuff, food food and food), markets and busyness. On every corner of the street there is a little restaurant where locals are chilling, eating and just hang around with family & friends. There are also people with little stalls on the streets selling fruit/vegetables or snacks. Some people completely transformed a supermarkt shopping cart into a rolling stall which they can move around everywhere. It’s hilarious to see! Envigado is nowadays one of the safest towns in the area of Medellin. There are not many foreigners (gringo’s how they call it) here, so you can imagine that I got a lot of people starring at me. Sometimes it’s funny, but there are some moments especially when you don’t feel confident about yourself, that it’s a bit uncomfortable.
On Wednesday, Juan Pablo showed me around a neighborhood of Medellin which is called comuna 13 and very affected by the war. Its a poor community, lots of beautiful street art as that is the way of those people to bring happiness/positivity to the area where they live. 5 years ago you wouldn’t be able to walk there. There are some horrible stories of the neighborhood, but now it’s a very interesting place to see. Beautiful views up there! 😍 JP told me about his family, that he lost his dad and uncle when he was very young because of the war. They got murdered. Something I just couldn’t imagine to happen and it gave me shivers all over my body.. Eventhough his mom is a single mom, she did everything she could to give her 3 kids an amazing future. JP’s older sister is nowadays an architect and his older brother an entrepeneur. Himself is a Data Analyst, has worked already for 6 months abroad and wants to start a Master in Europe. A remarkable story! His level of English is very well, everytime we are together we talk, talk and talk. Time is flying by.. He is such a nice person and I love his curiosity about things in life. It reminds me of myself 😄 The other good thing about our connection is that he helps me with my Spanish, corrects me when we chat and he’s really patient with me 😊
So far I’m only 2.5 weeks herep, but it feels like a lifetime! Besides the things I described above I did so many other things like going for a run with my Dutch friend overhere.
Volunteering for an afternoon with kids, playing with them, wasn’t easy because of the language barrier. As well I’ve met a friend of a colleague of mine at Nike, she took me with her to a free salsa dance class. Was fun! I’ve been going out with friends on Friday and it was such a fun and good night!! 😃 I watched the football game of Colombia – Brazil. Another nice evening and so much better football to watch then the Dutch one! Haha. The reporter of the game was talking so fast that it cracked me up!! 😂 How can the people understand this??
As you can read, my journey so far had its ups and downs already. Sometimes it makes me a bit scared thinking of what else is coming, but I know I have to move on and I will find my way. Trusting myself and feeling the emotions inside me, even if they are emotions which I don’t really like to feel ❤ The plan was first to get some private Spanish classes this week, but that’s just pushing myself more and more. So, I made the decision to cancel them and visit a really nice place in nature. Its at a lake and there is a big rock which you can climb and see a beautiful view! One of the girls from class last week, Zoë from Canada, is there as well. Looking forward to see her again, but also just being alone and one with nature 😊💚 The place reminded me a bit of Lake District in the UK. Hope I can do a nice run there as well..
How is life in Holland? I hear its beautiful weather! A nice after-summer 🌞 Here the weather is never the same because the city is in a valley surrounded by mountains. During the day its mostly sunny and a nice temperature and then suddenly it rains cats and dogs!! Thunder, rain rain rain.. Sometimes it feels like a big flood 😅
Have a nice week ahead beautiful people! I miss you xx 😘😍