My Goldilocks trek through Colombia to find the ‘perfect’ place to teach English now finds me in the green, lush, and wet coffee region. Can’t say I’m loving the rain, but I’m suffering – happily.
This is certainly the perfect place. Tiny, touristy, Salento! A once sleepy town dotted with coffee fincas/farms, hummingbird preserves, and a killer hike. Jewelry shops now outnumber cafes and on weekends, tourists fill those shops and the tables in pop-up restaurants serving fresh trout and patrons in a half-dozen ways.
Like every other place I’ve been in Colombia, few people speak English. Of course whether I can find anyone interested in paying to learn English, that is another story. See, here’s the deal: with the plan to only stay here for a few months it’s all but impossible to work in an institute/language school without a work visa. And so here I am, making my way into restaurants and shops ‘selling’ the intangible skill of a new language. Do people here need it? As the only fluent English speaker I’ve met said: NO! Tourists buy stuff and easily order food and a coffee. Somehow it all works out. But as I’ve written before, it’s all about doing more than brushing by someone while traveling with a three word exchange. To me, it’s more important to share ideas, thoughts, and experiencs -real life stuff that needs a shared language. Half-way through my ‘trip’, my Spanish is slowly improving, but not enough for real conversations. Of course, even with a shared language there are no guarantees.
So I was here, left, and now i’m back. It all started my first hour here – getting dropped off on a small street, walking past tiny homes, asking directions to the lovely eco-hostel, while taking in the beautiful green Andean foothills surrounding me. Green, clean, quiet – what’s not to love!