My first four days in Medellin are filled with positive vibes and ease. I feel as though I have the hang of public transportation, I know how to get home, work feels so natural, and everyone is so nice…Mmmm hmmmm.
Monday night I am still on cloud 9 from all of my work meetings and the all staff lunch we had at the local vegetarian joint near work so I decide I am brave enough to venture out to the grocery store up the road. My goal: breakfast items and possible ingredients to cook myself dinner.
I honestly didn’t once think ‘yes, this is what I needed’ or ‘I will definitely be able to use this.’ I didn’t even buy wine! The cheapest Barefoot brand wine was still $20! I left never seeing where the milk was sold, buying eggs that weren’t refrigerated and only assured I wouldn’t starve because I had a bag of faux Lay’s potato chips for when I got desperate. Grocery store was kind of a bust. Ya know what, it was definitely a bust.
Despite my failed attempt at food shopping, Tuesday morning I wake up pumped because I am attempting to taxi carpool with 3 other co-workers. I wake up early, I try to make myself cereal with some strange vegetable, almond milk, I correctly use my EasyTaxi app (just like uber except not linked to your bank account) and I am on my way, promptly at 8:15 as I am told. I arrive to the address written down and wait. And wait.
Eventually, I figure out I have arrived too early and this is not good. I understand this because of the unusually cold air in the taxi ride with the first co-worker in the carpool. We arrive at the next stop and this person is waiting outside, which is quite efficient since the taxi meter has been unnecessarily running. This was a shaky start to my second day, but the tension slowly dissipated as time passed. Thank goodness. Lesson one: Don’t be early, people will be angry.
During my lunch break, another co-worker happily took me to exchange money and to deposit my fee for my Colombian ID I am still hoping to obtain. Lesson two: Colombia has a three-step process for EVERYTHING. To get an ID card, you must: 1. Deposit fee in specified exclusive bank 2. Bring necessary forms to ID office 3. Pick up said ID card. It definitely wouldn’t make sense to just pay when you are at the ID office and have them mail you the card.
Throughout my day of carpooling, money exchange and weird bank deposits, not only is my bug bite ankle killing me, but I also learned lesson three: Colombians do not appreciate how hard American close car doors.
Luckily, my day ended with a welcome dinner organized by my new co-workers, filled with guacamole and margaritas. I am still skeptical of the we love working with each other and we love hanging out with each other theme, but I will go with it for now. I need to take what I can get.