Yesterday I took my first two flights, which was pretty scary but I managed. The take-off and landing were definitely the scariest, because I could feel the change in pressure, almost like a safe version of a roller coaster. We arrived in Barranquilla at 12:30, then we met our host families. My host family lives in an apartment in the city. They have an 8 year old son who is fairly fluent in both Spanish and English. Their family speaks some English, which has helped a lot as a buffer while transitioning to full immersion.

There are some big differences from Barranquilla and my home city (Tuscaloosa). The driving here is far less predictable and there are far more people using motorcycles for transportation. Many of the streets are one-way and people will weave around each other quite frequently. There are also tiny biting flies, so I will be remembering bug spray every day from now on. My host family’s house has a lot more decorative items and art than most American houses. Another huge difference is that despite it’s hot a lot of the year, my host family’s house doesn’t have air conditioning built into the house. They have a couple units of air conditioning that are mounted to the walls, but generally they leave the doors open for fresh air and it’s fairly warm inside all the time. They also don’t have hot water in the showers, which will take a little getting used to for me.

Yesterday we had chicken lasagna for lunch, and a baked cheese roll and breaded meatballs. This morning I got to try a papaya for the first time, and we had eggs with ham and corn, toasted bread, watermelon, and a chocolate drink. Yesterday we also had Malta with our dinner, which is a Colombian soda-like drink. The sounds of the city are very prominent here—I woke up several times through the night to honking or tires screeching.

Overall, my host family is super nice, and I’m having a good experience so far. It is weird thinking that I’m all the way across the continent from my home. Having never been abroad before, I’m struggling to comprehend that we traveled so far in such a short time. I look forward to the new experiences and Spanish practice I will get by living here.