Remote Year: The First Week

Well, I’ve officially survived one week living & working in Medellín, the city of eternal spring! Not that I ever had any concern about making it, this is just my normal life at this point.

What has been different is being a part of a group. Working from our 2 bedroom (then one bedroom) apartment in Virginia for the past 9 months made me even more of a homebody than I already am (which yes, is a weird combination – someone who is completely wanderlust yet also doesn’t want to leave home – just go with it). It has been quite the adjustment constantly being surrounded by and interacting with people. Thankfully, I got really lucky with this amazing group of people from around the world.

When we begged a Rappi delivery guy to take our photo after he delivered more alcohol & food to our first house party – thanks for hosting Kristin & Lani!

So what have I been up to my first week? My main goal was to settle in and begin to develop a routine. I also wanted to go through all of the Remote Year emails I had ignored up until my arrival. We have an amazing workspace about a 7 minute walk from the apartment I share with one other girl. My productivity has skyrocketed having access to a dedicated workspace and being surrounded by other motivated humans so I’m super pumped about this aspect of the program. And I mean, when your workspace looks like the below, how can you not be productive?!

The only downfall to the workspace is that you can’t flush your toilet paper… anddddd the bathrooms are co-ed. I’m sure I’ll have some interesting stories by the end of this to share 😉

I also made a trip to the grocery store to get some basics – I, of course, want to eat all of the foods but homegirl still has a budget on this extended vacation so eating breakfast and lunch at home will significantly help with that. Visiting the grocery store was probably a bit aggressive for my first full day in Medellín – this thing is like Costco only it sells the normal sizes of everything – aka very overwhelming. Thankfully, I had Lani & Shelby to struggle through it with.

This is the view of part of the first floor taken from the second floor.

The next time I need groceries, I plan on using this amazing app they have here called Rappi. Essentially UberEats but WAY cheaper.

Early on in the week, we also had Pecha Kucha night. We each had to make a slide that described us in pictures and then we had 30 seconds to word vomit everything we could about ourselves. I have no idea what I said but I do remember I opened up with “Hey, my name is Connie but my full name is Constance Nicole Kulczycki Geske because I like to make things complicated” 😂 Sounds about right, yeah?

On Thursday, I finally got up enough courage to go to CrossFit. The gym, like most things in Medellín, is in a mall. It’s super close to the workspace and our apartment which makes it even easier to go. We know I’m super motivated when I’m at home to workout but being on “vacation” is a whole different story. I ALWAYS bring shoes to run and never end up needing them so I need all of the extra help I can get.

The other funny thing about this place is they don’t speak English. So I have no idea what anyone is saying during class. Thankfully lifting is pretty universal so I just watch people for a second and know exactly what we’re doing.

On Friday, we played Tejo. Tejo, as defined by Wikipedia is is a traditional throwing sport in Colombia. It is characteristic for its use of small targets containing gunpowder, which explode on impact.

Essentially, it’s bags with more people and you are aiming for these tiny triangles laid along a metal circle that are filled with gunpowder. We had a practice round before jumping into an actual game and lucky me hit a triangle on my first try and got the first explosion! That was my one and only LOL

On Saturday, I started off the day at reformer pilates with Lani. To get home, we took an Uber (which are quite cheap and only 90% legal here) and I think we may have saved a man’s life? But also not sure because we don’t speak Spanish and Uber couldn’t tell us anything more. After requesting our Uber and him saying he was on his way (“estoy en camino” – I’ve learned a few necessary phrases!), I noticed he hadn’t moved in about 7 minutes. I then received the below message and we proceeded to call the emergency number with the help of some locals at a cafe. We don’t know what ended up happening to the man but our thoughts are with him!

Reflecting back on the first week, it went by so quickly yet so slow at the same time. Our program leader told us at the end of it all, we’d look back and be like where the hell did those 4 months go and I’m already feeling that. However, I’m going to continue to live in the moment and enjoy everything I’m getting to experience! Cheers to the next 4 months minus 1 week!


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