Santa Cruzeando

Hello my dear blog readers,

It has been a crazy long time since I posted here, and about a million things have happened since then.

I left my beloved Colombia on the 1st of December last year. Leaving was such a bizarre feeling, even though I knew I was coming back. It just felt so seriously wrong. Anyone will tell you that Colombia just sticks to you. They have a saying here, “el riesgo es que te quieres quedar” the risk is that you will want to stay. This couldn’t be more true.

The people I’ve met, the things I’ve seen, everything was just so damn special.

Anyway, after packing up the hunny pad, and having a super emotional goodbye with my Maija, it was time to say goodbye to my weird and wonderful Girardot existence.

The first place I went was Lima, Peru. My plan was to travel by land from Lima down to Santiago, Chile, in time to see my wonderful sister, who was visiting for a wedding. Well, I arrived in Lima and started my planning from a cute wee not-for-profit hostel (Zig-Zag hostel- love your work). I quickly came to the conclusion that I was not in any kind of financial position to be galavanting around Peru, and made the very mature decision to catch a flight to Chile on airpoints, and look for a workaway.

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Lima, Peru

After 4 days wandering around Lima, and buying a variety of Alpaca wool creations that I definitely did not have space for, I hopped on my flight and flew down to Chile.

The workaway that I found was magical. It was a beautiful Italian restaurant in the Colchagua Valley- Chilean wine heaven! The town, Santa Cruz, was small and lazy and wine-crazy. The restaurant was built in the old stables and house of the winemakers, and overlooked a vineyard. I had my own room in a cute house a short bike ride away from the restaurant, lovely housemates, and delicious food. What more could I have asked for?

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Not too shabby a workplace

I spent my days sleeping late, biking to my lunch shift in the delicious hot sun (dry heat, not humid Girardot heat), working a few hours, resting and swimming a few hours, working a few more hours, drinking beers in the courtyard with my housemates. On my days off, or even on mornings before my shift, my well connected boss would set up a wine tasting for me, and I would set off early in the morning, taste some beautiful wines then stumble back, happy and dozy. I met some wonderful people, some bizarre people, learnt so much about wine, and really truly relaxed. It was really quite an idyllic month.

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Wine-ing my days away

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Christmas came, and I had maybe the most bizarre, but equally wonderful Christmas ever. At that time, the only people in the house were myself, and the lovely Eric. We spent the previous day buying enough food to feed all of Santa Cruz, then spent Christmas eating it, accompanied by breakfast champagne and of course, beersies.

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Christmas champagne breakfast

My sister arrived at the beginning of January. Seeing her was dream like. I went to the airport to meet her and the moment I saw her warm familiar face, I burst into tears. In my year away, I have met some amazing people, who are now my very best friends. But there is something about seeing someone who you have literally known your whole life.

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Exploring Valparaiso with my perfect sister

We gave each other the hugest, longest hug, then set off to our airbnb in Santiago. It was super central- right near the Moneda. We spent our week exploring, eating, drinking fanta mixed with beer, and then to top it off, attending a gorgeous Chilean wedding. I loved showing off my sik Colombian dance moves I learnt last year. All the Chileans were confused about the Colombian Gringa (in a good way? In a bad way? Who cares! I rocked that d-floor).

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Wedding attire

Saying goodbye to my amazing sister was devastating, but I got on my teary way back to Santa Cruz for my final week of wineville. Wineville part two was even better than part one. I arrived and there were two new gringas in the workaway house. They were hilarious and wonderful and we quickly became the queens of Santa Cruz, even if only for a week. We lost the plot making jokes about people who drive vans (don’t ask), and tried to steal stray dogs outside bars. We were only together for a week, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget those beautiful souls!

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My new pup

Soon came the time to leave Chile and head back to la tierrita. I must say, I was hugely excited to get back to my life. I missed my gorgeous Colombian people. I realised what an amazing network I had made in the course of the previous year. A network that formed in front of me while I was busy getting bitten by mosquitoes all year.

Arriving home to my second home was amazing. My phone connected to the network, and I knew exactly where I was going.

This year, fate has sent me to a city called Tunja, in the Boyacá region. It is not exactly the plan I had for the year, but when the world sends you a good opportunity, you take it, and you make the most of whatever the opportunity has in store for you.

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Chilly Tunja- Plaza de Bolivar

I have now been in Tunja for just over two months. It is cold- completely different to Girardot. It’s colonial, but a completely non-pretentious, real kind of colonial. I have a lot to get used to, I have to build a network almost from scratch, but I’ve been so super lucky to have found an amazing flatmate who I’m pretty much stuck at the hip with already. Funny how these people walk into our lives at exactly the right time. I’m loving my job, and I’m feeling positive about all the new adventures the next year up in the mountains will be! Stay tuned yall!

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