Expect the Unexpected
This post is more or less a diary entry of the last few days, for those of you who care to know :).
Thursday evening we were invited to the U.S. ambassador’s house for a Fulbright reception. The event was filled with important people, media, and fancy appetizers. The ambassador even wanted to take a picture with this year’s cohort of Fulbright scholars.
On Friday, I had the morning to myself. I went with a couple other people to the phone store to see if they could fix my phone. The guy at Claro informed me that my SIM card had never been activated and that I would need to go to the large Claro store which was about 15 blocks away. We didn’t have time to do that then, so I reconciled to the fact that I would be arriving to Tunja without a working Colombian cell phone and no guarantee of internet.
At this point, my fellow Tunja Fulbright ETA and I returned to the hotel only to discover that she was not traveling with me to Tunja and needed to be ready earlier than we had expected. We decided to stop at a little place nearby to eat. We ordered fruit salads and received fruit with ice cream and cheese on top instead. We laughed about it and enjoyed our delicious desserts and then went back to the hotel.
I was being picked up by the head of the International Relations Office at UPTC. There were complications which made them a bit late (a bit late meaning an hour late). I had expected this so I wasn’t worried. The director was a really welcoming person who reminded me on the car ride to Tunja that flexibility was one of the most important characteristics I could have in order to have a great time this next year.
We stopped by the Bogotá airport to pick up two exchange students from Mexico. From there, we drove to Tunja, stopping along the way for envueltos and tinto. The director explained to me that envueltos are the Colombian version of tamales. Tinto is a small cup of coffee without milk. He also explained that a cortado is a small cup of coffee with milk and a café is a large cup of coffee (con leche/with milk or sin leche/without milk). He told me that if you sit down with someone to eat an arepa or an envuelto alongside a tinto, you are friends after that.
While eating our envueltos, which are delicious by the way, and drinking our tintos, we were discussing possible programs that I could lead. We agreed upon a large scale Thanksgiving dinner with all of the international students and teachers which he will allow us to do in the cafeteria. I’m pretty excited about the possibility of this because Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite American holiday. At some point during the drive, he also invited me tour a bilingual high school in the area, which I happily agreed to.
Once arriving in Tunja, the true chaos began. Apparently, the house I will be staying in is occupied by researchers until Monday. I am couchsurfing with the international exchange students, who are staying in two other houses and don’t really have room for me. They welcomed me in and fed me and found a place for me to stay. The house I am in doesn’t technically have internet, although there’s a network that sometimes works. I have gotten in contact with my tutor (i.e. my boss) through email and learned that she will not be in Tunja Sunday through Thursday of this next week, so it’s crucial that I at least talk to her today. Hopefully we will be in contact sometime this morning in order to work things out. I’m reminding myself that this is what I expected – the unexpected. I’m not really all that stressed about the whole situation and I’m confident that things will settle down eventually.