So my close friend Derek suggested I put something out there about my first few weeks in Colombia living and not just vacationing. A few others have as well.
So where to start. I knew I should have started writing all this down way before now as my memory and those details are not readily available, but Ill do my best. Ill have to look back at my Facebook Timeline for those details.
So I arrived very late on Thursday May 23rd, already the 24th in Maryland. I flew in on United Airlines 1068 from Newark and used my friend Jerry’s first class upgrade. The flight was delayed 1.5 hours because of storms in the NYC area. I camped out in the United Club for several hours. The place gets really busy but the free beer and alcohol helped.
Very stormy Newark Airport
Business Class upgrade on the 6 hour flight
Andres picked me up at the airport and the 2 large bags I brought and my carryon suitcase. Customs and immigration were very easy to navigate and to get through. Helps that there was only one flight arriving at the time and I was at the front of the plane. I got a luggage cart for 4mil pesos and and gave the guy a 5mil peso bill and got no change, I was just tired from the trip and wanted to get done with it. I got my bags and saw Andres through the glass barrier separating Customs from the pickup area. Though I saw no Aviv, who I expected to see with Andres. I got through customs and got a big hug and nibble from Andres to see if this was actually real or a dream. He was amazed and happy I was finally with him in Colombia. We trekked out to the new but very dirty Chevy Captiva in the pouring rain and loaded the car up and headed home to NW Bogota. We arrived to Almeria de San Luis on Calle 138, parked the car in the underground garage, got the bags out of the car and into the elevator up to the 7th floor. I got on my knees and waited for the attack. Andres opened up the door, Aviv took one look at him and darted to me with crazy licks and happiness. I had been waiting for that for 4 months and was so so happy.
First night love. He is not letting me go
The next morning I saw Andres’s father and mother and his aunt Liz. They had been busy packing the house as they are moving to Fusagasuga, a town southwest of Bogota and down the hill and into a warmer climate. They had been wanting to move for some time out of Bogota and this was the perfect opportunity to actually do this with Andres back in Colombian and me moving to the area. Aviv and I went for a walk while Andres headed off to work. I had walked the area before so I knew my way around. When we got back, Mom served up some Arepas and scrambled eggs and good Colombian coffee. The whole day was really spent sleeping, cuddling with Aviv, watching TV, and taking walks.
Day 2, Saturday May 25, in Bogota I woke up with Aviv ready to go for his morning walk consisted of one walk with Aviv and 10 hours of shopping with Andres looking for TV, Bed, Refrigerator, washer/dryer and household items. I think we ended up buying the king bed and some Greenware Pots and pans. We went to Falabella, Kostco, Jumbo, Exito, Homecenter, and I am sure a few other stores. We also went to Zona Rosa for a beer at The Pub.
On Sunday, we went for a morning walk along the main drag next to the house, Avenue Boyaca which is partially closed for public recreation and went to do more shopping. The weekend flew by with lots of Aviv time and shopping.
Monday Day 4 brought movers early AM to move Andres’s parents off to Fusza and soon enough the condo was empty with only a single bed, Aviv’s things, a few dishes and our belongings. We must start from scratch. Andres went off to work and I said goodbye to Andres’s parents and aunt Liz. I tried to go shopping with not much of success in fear of making a fool of myself. I ate rice and crackers for lunch. I realized I was making more of a fool by not interacting and trying the interaction out. Once Andres got home, we went back to the store and got what we could without a refrigerator. Monday also brought VP Biden to Colombia for talks with President Santos.
El Tiempo Cover Page of Biden’s visit
Tuesday Day 5 was the day we went to get my passport and visa registered at Migracion Colombia on Calle 100 in NE Bogota. I had been before and never an easy process. My suggestion for anyone coming to Colombia and having to go through the process is get someone who has been through the process before and knows the system. Also helps to have your passport photos taken, multiple copies of your visa and passport, a pen, a hard surface to write on, bottle of water, and lots of patience. Oh some cash too for the fees they want to charge you. On this trip I was just registering my Visa that was issued in Washington DC at the Colombian Consulate on 17th St NW and my new USA Passport that I got in February. The tricky part was when I went to also get my Colombian Foreign Alien Card. I have had a temporary one but was to get a permanent one once I returned. They wanted to charge me more money even though I had paid for it back in January. Good thing I had Andres with me to wrangle through the process and get me past having to pay. The whole process and bureaucracy took about 2 hours for something that should have taken much less time.
Temporary Colombian ID
Sidewalk photo for Migracion Colombia.
Andres had to get to work so after I finished at Migracion I walked to Andres office and then we went to go get a cell phone at Tigo about 1/2 mile away from his office in Usaquen. So after a lunchtime trip to get a number and 3 hours later I had no number and no plan. They tried to sell me a plan that did not exist and once the contract was filled out and they tried put it though, it was rejected and I was asked to pay more. So we tore up the contract and told them no deal. So Andres went back to work. I drove home, my first driving the new car in Bogota traffic. Another post about driving rules. The evening of day 5 we went to Alkosto and bought a LG Washer/Dryer combo and we went to another Tigo outlet and got me a prepaid cell number. Day 5 was a really long and frustrating day.
Day 6, a Wednesday brought the delivery of the Washer/Dryer combo. Aviv and I tested it out and watched the cycle for an hour. Pretty exciting. Besides the delivery of the Washer, Aviv and I watched TV all day, took a nap or two and once Andres got home, we went across the street for a beer.
LG Washer/Dryer Combo
- Watching the cloths go round and round, round and round
Day 7, Thursday May 30th came the arrive of the bed and the end of three of us sleeping on a single bed and a old uncomfortable mattress. We finally had a King Bed. The delivery man and women were not too thrilled that after getting the bed up to the seventh floor in an elevator that was too small for the mattress, they rolled it up, and into the condo, they had to climb a flight of tricky stairs to the loft bedroom. I gave them $10000 Colombian pesos. Its about $5 American. I got it made with the sheets we bought at Falabella and washed in the new washer. Aviv was the first to try it out.
The king of the king bed
The single bed
Over the course of week 2 we did a lot of shopping and looking and seeing furniture everywhere around Bogota. We purchased a Samsung Refrigerator from Jumbo and got that on Saturday the 1st of June. I also finally got the Magic Jack phone set up and a number, 202-241-9424. Its a Washington DC number. Saturday also brought Andres and I finally seeing Star Trek with Spanish subtitles.
The first 10 days were busy and now I am in week 3. I have fully caught up on Downton Abby via Apple TV. We got a LG 47″ LED/3D TV, painters have come and gotten the upstairs painted. Andres and I made a trip to La Calera and picked out tile for the fireplace. Lots of work has been done on the condo and hopefully will be finished soon. I guess what’s missing from this post is the Spanish. I am living in a Spanish speaking country and my learning has been very slow. A few words here and there and lots of frustration trying to communicate. I hope now that I am done with Downton Abby I hope I can get back on the swing in learning Spanish.
Aviv at Pan Pa Yo waiting for Daddy to come out with breakfast
More posts to come…