My expectations

I expect that I will see many colors. I have seen pictures of the vendors wearing the traditional looking dress which is very colorful. Additionally, I have heard a lot about the amazing flowers that come from Colombia. I am excited to hopefully see orchids because they are beautiful and cannot grow naturally in the United States (I assume that these would be very colorful here). I also expect to see very different buildings and architecture from the US. Especially in the old city of Cartagena, I think that the buildings will be very different and interesting; I have seen pictures that have made me think that this is true. Lastly, I think that I will see a fairly diverse people. Colombia has a history of very different kinds of people living there and I expect that I will see this in their skin, face, dress, and other things. I also always think of these people as being very happy and kind. I am not sure if this is true but this is the way that I think of them. People in the US (especially New York) can be very cold. The people from Colombia that I have met have all been very nice which is what has lead me to this conclusion. I think I will see many people smiling and being friendlier than in New York/ the US.

I expect that I will hear music. I have heard a lot of music from Cali since I started learning about it and I think that I will hear it there. Especially when we go to the salsa places, I think that there will be a lot of that music because we will be doing salsa. I also hope to hear the instruments of Colombia. I have heard that there is a lot of accordion playing in Colombia which I am curious to hear. I would love to see people playing in the little groups on the street and I wonder if they even have street musicians there like I have seen in other places. I also expect to hear different types of Spanish than we have heard in Spanish classes. I am worried that I will be unable to understand what some of the people are saying because I have only really heard Spanish in a classroom setting; I have rarely heard it in a natural setting other than during COIL. I wonder how different it is going to be when I hear it actually in Colombia.

I expect to taste many different foods. I want to try different things there and not be as closed-minded to trying new foods as I usually am. I expect to eat many different fruits and fruit flavored things. I would like to try buñuelos and empanadas. I would also like to try real Colombian coffee. I do not really like coffee but I feel like that is something I have to do because Colombian coffee is so famous. I would also like to try the fresh bread that I have heard is made every afternoon because I love bread.

I expect that I will smell the bread being made. I have heard that in Cali one can smell the bread being made every day around the same time which probably smells amazing. I also expect to smell sugar and coffee. I probably will not smell this other than when we go to the sugar cane places, but, as of now, that is what I picture Colombia smelling like: sweetness from the sugar cane and coffee from all of the famous Colombian coffee being brewed each day. Once we are in Cartagena, Barranquilla, and Santa Marta, I also expect that it will probably smell somewhat like ocean. This is one of my favorite smells since I grew up on an island, so that would actually make me very happy.

I expect to feel heat. Heat and sweat. As my body will not yet be used to heat, I am sure it will feel even worse. I know that when I visit my cousins in Florida, they are all wearing long pants and sweatshirts when it is 75/80 degrees and my family is in shorts because that is so hot for us in the Spring. I expect that it will be something like that in Colombia. They will probably not be wearing sweatshirts but the heat will probably be much less uncomfortable for the natives than it will be for the group and me. I expect that I will sweat for much of the trip since I am going from the cool weather of Oneonta to the heat of Cali. However, I am incredibly excited for the heat.

Lastly and most importantly, I expect to learn a lot. We will be seeing a lot of places, going to many museums and schools, and seeing many people and new ways of life. From these experiences, I expect to learn a lot about Colombia, the world, and Spanish. I know that the museums and seeing Colombia will teach me about these things and I know that hearing the different dialects of Spanish spoken will teach me more about them. I have seen many Caribbean and even some Central American countries but I still think that I will learn new things here, especially since it is in South America. I am excited about learning things that I would have never expected.

But I also have some questions. I wonder if my initial assumptions are correct. I wonder what the people will be like. Will they be friendly or all business like the U.S.? Will there be any American music? I wonder what kind of access these people have to American movies and music. I wonder about the poverty levels in these places. Are they poor or there just some pockets of poverty like in the United States? Can they really all dance, or is that just something that they say? Are all of the women really incredibly beautiful or is that just what they boast? I wonder how many people will be able to speak English. I wonder what the city of Cali will be like. Will there be tall buildings? Will there be many people in cars? Walking? Biking? What do the people wear? Is it very similar to the United States? What kinds of restaurants will be there? Will there be many influences from other countries in their stores, restaurants, etc.? Will they laugh at our attempts at Spanish? I wonder what they think of Americans (*United Statesers*). I wonder what they learn about in school. I wonder how religious the people will be. I guess I’ll see soon.

~Erica

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