¨Home is a feeling, not a place¨
I learned a new Spanish word last week. My portero (doorman, who I’m quickly learning is a go-to person for just about anything we need) stopped us on our way out and asked, ¨¿Te has amañado en la casa?¨. I didn’t understand at first, and asked him to repeat it please. As he said it again, I discovered my newfound word: amañarse, ¨to settle in, to make your home¨. I look back at my time here in Colombia and am amazed that 3 weeks have gone by. I feel like I have barely dipped my toes into the wondrous pool of Medellin. A phrase that I’ve found myself repeating has been, ¨It’s like we live in a hotel.¨ A few aspects contribute to this feeling. The furniture was provided by our school. The area we live in is quite touristy, filled with hostels and hotels. Backpackers and visitors swing by our city for a wild night of debauchery and a few days of adventure. It’s common to hear English, German, and Portuguese while walking the nearby streets. In addition, everything we do here is a brand new experience, as if we were on vacation, just passing by.
Now, we’ve started teaching and I can promise you that this is no vacation. Try spending 8-hour days with 21 rowdy Colombian children (okay, it’s actually rather lovely!). However, I have yet to have made this space, our apartment, our neighborhood, Medellin, Colombia…my home. We’ve taken small steps to get even a bit closer to that feeling. We put our decorations from home on the walls, including a large Colorado flag. We got chairs and a table for the patio and instituted a mandatory rule of eating outside always. We gathered some items for our kitchen: a rice cooker, a blender, some tupperware, which allows us to cook at home more than eating out. Despite these small steps, the feeling remains lingering above me, floating like a bubble waiting to find rest. I look up and see it clearly-that feeling of home, estar amañado.