maandag 15 februari 2016

WHY DROP EVERYTHING AND GO TO CARTAGENA (COLOMBIA)



Hi I'm Laïla (yes almost the same name as Liliroxx' Leila), 22 years old and I live currently in Cartagena, Colombia. I studied multilingual communication (French and Spanish)  and I’ve always had a connection with Latin-America.  After graduation and working for  6 months I needed a break and I decided to travel to Colombia, the country of salsa. I actually met Leila during one of our salsa-evenings in Belgium, which are once in a month. Luckily in Colombia I have the chance to dance every night. 
(SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE 5 MAIN REASONS TO GO TO CARTAGENA)


I chose the city of Cartagena to live for a couple of months. It lies on the coast so that means it is 30 degrees every day, I have the friendliest people around me and the greatest Spanish accent. By now, I already have my routine here. Every day I sit in the hammock for a while in my apartment, just enjoying the sun and the breeze and I feel very happy and relaxed. Then I usually go to the gym. In the afternoon I go to the office or to the school. I chose to do some volunteering in Cartagena and I am working as an teacher-assistant for the AfroCaribe Foundation, which is really great. In the weekends I usually take time to discover the city or other cities nearby. 
Living in Colombia is of course very different from living in Europe. In Colombia you have to watch your things and yourself constantly. I actually had a taxi-driver who dropped me off at the school and saying to me that I should put my cellphone away. Also, we have another school up the hill, but until now we were forbidden to go there because of the local gangs there. These things really give you a reality-check every day and you realize that you actually are quite lucky living in Europe. Everything hear seems also unstructured. The traffic here is horrible ; there are little crosswalks, no seatbelts or no-one wears them, drivers call in the car and every vehicle just rides wherever he finds a place. Everything is arranged last-minute here and people usually come too late. But that’s part of life in Colombia, and you get used to it very easily ☺. 


I really love working in the school though! We started three weeks ago with cleaning and painting the school, which was really hard work. But now we are finally giving classes in the school and it is just great to know I really helped to build this amazing place. The kids are really adorable and I love teaching them because they are always so interested. Mostly I teach the English classes or I help coordinate the games. What really makes me happy is going to the school and then being cuddled and kissed by all the kids. I’ve only been here for three weeks but the kids really seem very attached already as I am to them. The schools are situated in very poor areas of Colombia so most of the kids don’t go to school, as they have to watch their little brothers or sisters while their parents are working. Another consequence is that most of the time kids don’t get much attention from their parents. So we try to give them as much attention as possible.
As for the clothing; due to the extremely hot weather, the nonchalance of the inhabitants and the fact that Colombia is a rather poor country, clothing style is very comfy and simple here. Every day I wear something that possibly can get dirty like shorts and a simple top or t-shirt. All this in combination with slippers. The inhabitants of Cartagena are literally ‘slipping’ to work, to the beach, to the mall… So I bought myself some new slippers from IPANEMA (link here) and decided to do that do. Only in the gym they have the most amazing outfits but I guess that’s because in the gym the people are somewhat richer than the people you see in the streets. My sportoutfit is from STRONGER (link here)
Despite everything, the people of Colombia are really happy people and they don’t need much to be happy. They really enjoy life and don’t do structure, organization or deadlines because that all brings stress with it. So yeah, I think I like living here ☺. 


WHY DROP EVERYTHING AND GO TO CARAGENA? 
5 REASONS
  1. Dance : If you are looking for a place surrounded by salsa music and other Colombian rhythms, Cartagena is one of the places. Music and dance is all around the city ! 
  2. The beaches : As Cartagena lies in the Carribean, you live right next to the ocean and there are some amazing beaches and isles that are worth visiting just one hour from Cartagena. 
  3. The people : Cartageneros are just superfriendly people. I never look something up because I know people will help me gladly when I’m looking for something. 
  4. The history : Cartagenas has one of the most interesting histories of Colombia, certainly because It is a very old city and you can still see the places where they used to trade slaves. So if you are into culture, Cartagena is the place. 
  5. The mentality : If you really want a time off, the Carribean coast is excellent. You don’t have to worry about a thing here. Everything happens more slowly, deadlines don’t exist and there is no stress at all. People really believe everything will work out at the end. And after a time, you believe it too.
Thanks for reading, greets Laïla






SEARCH FOR CARTAGENA FOR MORE PICTURES LIKE THIS AND YOU'LL BE AMAZED (LAST ONE NOT OURS). ALL THE OTHER PICTURES ARE FROM LAÏLA. 

Would you like to travel to Cartagena? Let us know. 
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1 opmerking

  1. Ahh die foto's! #goals
    Het ziet er prachtig uit en klinkt minstens net zo mooi! Wie weet ooit..

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