Medellín 1/?

OK we’ll try this post from my phone. Pictures exist but I’ll have to sort out how to move from my camera next time I have a working computer.

I’ve been in Medellín now for 13 days and with about 3 and 1/2 weeks in Colombia, I suppose that this is the longest “trip” that I’ve been on (that being one that is for no other purpose than “to travel”).

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Initial Assumptions

Every time I solo travel, I’m much quieter than I am back home. I don’t want people to know that I’m not a local, and I think (especially in Mediterranean countries) that if I don’t open my mouth, passerbys won’t think twice. But if they know I’m a not a local, I’m usually reluctant to reveal that I’m from the United States.

I love my country, I love my state, and I love my city. But I know what the rest of the world’s perception is of my country. And if we’ve only got two seconds to pass each other on the street, I frequently prefer to avoid the disapproving glances. And when we sit down for a longer conversation, I typically find myself running through a similar stream of answering questions about wars, racism, and our lack of care for the environment. But I know we’re not the center of the world, and it’s why I try to leave home as much as possible. Not to get further away from a place that I’m embarrassed by, but so that I can gain perspective from as many of these equally deserving places as possible.

Believe me, I am fully aware that these stereotypes are MINOR inconveniences that I have to deal with as a white, financially stable, American, male. But, I’m proud to say that in three presidential elections, I’ve never voted for one for president*. Although I would have if the outcome of the Democratic primaries had been different.

This morning, with the results of the 2016 presidential elections announced, I am more reluctant than ever to admit that I’m American. The majority of my country has voted for a man who embraces so many of these stereotypes that I’m embarrassed by. So as I pack my bag up for Spanish classes today (a language that 41 million people in the US speak as a native language), I have a few phrases bookmarked today…

Que paso? – What happened?
Desconcertado – embarrassed / bewildered
Liberales y Conservadores – Liberals and Conservatives
La barrera – wall / barrier
No quiero guerra – I don’t want war
Estoy orgulloso de mi estado (Connecticut) – I’m proud of my state (Connecticut)

election2016
From ccn.com

 

I hope I don’t get swirlied by the school bullies.

 

*line taken from David Kroman in my Facebook feed.

Free Walking Tour

“Teacher, teacher! Hola todos! Bienveniedos a Colombia!” the old men yelled from Bolivar Park.

I’ve been on many walking tours of cities that I’ve been to all over the world. They’re typically free, although a tip is expected at the end. I’ve been on good tours and I’ve been on not so good tours. But typically I’m always feeling a bit reluctant to go on a walking tour of a city center since I usually hate the feeling of being ‘outed’ as a tourist and sensing some animosity from the locals who see our large group passing though. However, this particular tour was something special.

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