Hello everyone, I’m sorry to have left you all hanging! As I mentioned, I was in the U.S. for the past week and a half visiting friends and family. Of course catching up, reminiscing and eating took up quite a bit of time and energy and the blog unfortunately fell by the wayside.
This was my first trip back to the U.S. in about six months and though I’m not sure how often the average expat visits their home country, even that brief chunk of time made the differences between my former and new home seem glaringly different! Now that I’m back and settled in in my adopted home, I thought it would be fitting to do a quick little post about some of the things that I think are so cool about my newly adopted city.
Hmmm…not sure exactly of the literal translation of this one, but it basically is the equivalent of a little extra for free. For example, when I buy a juice from a vendor on the street I’ll drink it about halfway down and the they’ll refill the cup for free. Or if I buy a dozen buñuelos (amazing fried dough balls) from a mom and pop shop, I can ask for the ñapa and they’ll give me an extra one for free to eat on my way home. I’d never heard of this before moving to Colombia and has quickly become a welcomed practice.
In the U.S. furniture is delivered, or pizza or chinese food. Ok, maybe you can do a grocery delivery but it’s expensive and not exactly an everyday occurrence. I absolutely love that everywhere in Bogotá has delivery…TacoBell, groceries, an ice cream from a convenience store. I even have Charlie’s dog food delivered. And guess what? It’s normal and therefore quite inexpensive.
All the movie theaters I’ve been to in Bogotá are smaller than the U.S., which means that pretty much any seat is a good seat and there are less people to make noise. Even better…when you buy your ticket you also select your seat. And it’s enforced! Lastly, theaters also have more than just popcorn—depending on where you go, there is ice cream, sushi, or a coffee shop. Now that I’ve become accustomed to the movie going style in Bogotá, I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way!
In many countries outside of the U.S. it’s affordable and normal to have in-home help. I was a bit reluctant at first (I mean, I don’t have children or a job…) but something someone said before we left really stuck with me: paying someone to work in your home is providing someone with employment. Another thing is that because most foreigners are assumed to be wealthy, if in-home help is a cultural norm people may look at you and wonder why you’re so cheap and refuse to give someone a job. I can justify it all I like, but I was very happy to return to a clean house! Even more, it was reassuring that Cody wasn’t living in squalor while I was away.
Each time I visited a supermarket in Oregon I took a peek at where the flowers were from and all of them said “Product of Colombia.” I recently read that Colombia is the second highest exporter of flowers (right behind Holland) and living so close to the source means that there is a huge variety of flowers for prices that (compared to the U.S.) seem crazy. Every week I fill the house with some variety of hydrangeas, roses, astromedia and calla lilies for around $10. When I got home yesterday, I bought fresh flowers before I even thought about groceries! And just so you know, the ñapa applies here too—if I buy a dozen roses along with a few other flowers, they will usually throw in a little something extra for free.
These are just a quick couple of things that—as someone from the U.S.—were quite different upon moving to Bogotá. Of course there are things that aren’t as nice here as the U.S. (um, hello wide open roads), but I’m a gal who likes to focus on the positives!