Medellin: Part 2

After Guatape, we headed into the city for a few days.   The drive in is such a stunning mix of mountains and city scape, and I couldn’t quite get a shot that is really representative of how beautiful it really is from the car.

We stayed at the newer Marriott and loved its location.  Set in the El Poblado neighborhood, we immediately set out to check out our nearby eateries and just enjoy the fresh air.   At times, it felt as if we could have been back in Portland.   Clean streets, lots of trees and parks and we even strolled up on a Starbucks, what?

We went to check out the Zoo afterward.   I was pleasantly surprised at the facilities and the care towards the animals.  Lots of knowledgable staff just waiting to share information with you, and many of up close encounters with animals from this region.

The next day, we headed for the metro cable cars, giving you a bird’s eye view of the city.    Such a different way to see the vastness of this city and its different areas.

On this trip, I was really able to see my kids embrace a new City with all the adventurous spirit I hope they keep forever.   Not all of our activities were “kid-centered” but they liked them nonetheless.   I was so happy to be walking around in jeans and t-shirt with a slight breeze, I could have stayed another week!  Overall, Medellin was the perfect long weekend.  Easy in so many ways.

Medellin, Day 1: From Endless Summer to Eternal Spring

A quick one hour flight from Cartagena and we landed in the beautiful city of Medellin.    I gladly welcomed the cooler temps and mountainous terrain.  It was gorgeous to see all the finca’s on our way in and just drive with the windows down.   Proof that I am still a Pacific North West girl at heart, give me all the cloudy days!

We went straight out to Guatape, this amazing natural rock that jets straight into the sky out of nowhere.

It’s nothing compared to seeing it up close.   They say it’s 650 steps, but really there are about 25 more, so here goes nothing!

The reward is well worth the climb.  Some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen.  The water and the small islands, it almost doesn’t look real.

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After some water and some sugar, we made our way back down.   Which after the climb up, legs were a bit wobbly.

I’m so glad we scheduled this into our trip, well worth the windy but beautiful drive outside Medellin.   Sometimes a change of scenery is just what you need.

Next up: the rest of our time in the city.

4 Years With This Little Girl

My baby is 4 and when I say it was yesterday I first laid eyes on those cheeks, I mean these years are flying by.

My March baby loves Unicorns, Rainbows, Cats, Dogs, Horses, Magic and all the chocolate she can find.  I feel so grateful that I get to parent both a boy and a girl, and I am just starting to see the beginnings of what a mother/daughter relationship will hold for us. She wants everything I have, be it a latte or eye shadow, but she also wants to do it all by herself.  If I choose an outfit for her, she will almost always pick the other option.  Strong willed and opinionated, I wouldn’t want her any other way!

Our youngest member is certainly not short on spirit, she loves with her whole heart and never feels the need to put on a show.  If you are lucky enough to make it into her circle, she will love you so genuinely and sweetly.

Happiest Birthday to the most amazing 4-year-old I have ever met.  Can’t wait to see where this year takes you baby girl!

Are We Addicted to the Fresh Start?

Living this slightly nomadic lifestyle has brought about such great excitement and adventure but also a few questions for me that I hadn’t previously thought about.  Because of the nature of our foreign post, we are limited in the time we can stay abroad and thus, we are constantly discussing our next steps, otherwise know as, our exit strategy.  Where to next?  I actually enjoy the many conversations and process of discovering where the next chapter leads us.

I have always said that we are not running away from anything, but moving toward something that excites us and we are interested in trying.  It leads me to the questions, am I living like its temporary?  Does that limit how involved I get?  Does it change the way I view the issues and people who I come in contact with?  Is saying good-bye all the time so emotionally grinding that I really only get so attached to any given piece of my life right now?

Short answer is yes.  Maybe that’s sad to admit, but I can’t commit for the long haul, I’m in a short-term frame of mind.  That doesn’t mean I’m not attached or making great and lasting friendships, it just means in the back of my mind, I know it won’t last like this for very long.   If anything, it has taught me to seize all the moments I can.  For I know there are pieces of this pie that I will miss terribly when it’s over.

I do notice that my kids do not have this.  They love, invest and live in the moment like there is no other option.   They are all in.   It is such a great reminder to appreciate the present.  I’m glad they have the chance to experience Colombia fully, and I hope they remember it as a part of their childhood in a very significant way.

So until our next fresh start, I’m going to make the most of this one.  Here is a little of what we have been up to lately.

One Important Change.

When we arrived back in Cartagena after summer break, Coffee Tuesdays were born.  Something that had been discussed for a few months came to life and it has made all the difference for me this year.

It is one morning set aside every week to explore.   New restaurants, galleries or shops.  A no-guilt couple of hours dedicated to discovering new gems in the City.  This day gives my usual weekday routine a nice exciting twist.   We have talked about the creation of a coffee-table book made solely from the pictures we take on Tuesdays, and I think I might have to give it a try.

When we moved overseas, I felt eager to find my new routine.  I needed a schedule and a comfort zone.    I have also enjoyed playing the tourist on weekends with my family, but this isn’t about hitting every stop on trip advisor.  It is about slow mornings with friends, finding the best coffee, meeting locals, going somewhere on a whim and wandering around to find the most beautiful and photogenic spaces.   Most of these are difficult with kids in tow.  If I could give everyone this same advice: go explore your town, keep your sanity and give yourself something to look forward to in the middle of the week.

Coffee Tuesdays will forever be one my fondest memories of our time living in Cartagena.

The Logos Hope in Port

It’s no secret, I miss a good book-store.  Maybe it’s the Portlander in me, but browsing all the latest books, sipping coffee and the quiet murmur of people is one of my top 5 favorite things.   Haven’t been able to find that here in a real consistent way.  Especially books in English.   Until now, or at least until the end of February.

The Logos Hope in port.

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How cool is a floating book store?  The Logos Hope pulled into port at the end of January and we took our turn checking it out.

Over 400 international employees devote a year or longer to work on this floating book store, promoting education, literacy, and social awareness around the world.   What an awesome opportunity and how great to bring this experience to people all over the world?

I am often in awe of the organizations and experiences that we have discovered while living here.   I was impressed and inspired by the people and the mission of this team, that I otherwise would never have known about.   When the Logos Hope leaves port, she will venture north up to Guatemala and various stops in Mexico until Summer.  So thankful she stopped here for a bit.  I am hoping I can squeeze in another trip before she goes.

In the Spirit of Trying…

Good news.  We found a barn, with horses, and a riding school and I couldn’t be happier.   As I sat on the outside of the arena, watching my kids take their first lesson, I thought about how many hours my own parents had logged watching me.   I don’t know if my children will grow to have the same love of horses I do but I am thrilled that we can afford to give it a try.

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My dream ever since these little kiddos came along has been to ride along side them.  Doesn’t every parent want to pass on a love for something they enjoy?  Today, we started working our way towards that goal.

Whether they love it or not, I want them to be try-ers.   People who want to try.  I did not always love everything my parents pushed me to do, but in the end, I had a strong sense of what I really loved and wanted to pursue.  It hopefully turns into a confidence for learning and a well-rounded set of experiences.   There are many activities that are not available to us while we are here, so finding what we can do and making the most of it is important to our sanity.

Just listen to the excitement from that little voice.