Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My 3 year anniversary!

Today Wednesday March 25th 2015 marks my three year anniversary here in Colombia. I cannot believe how fast time has flown and all my ups and downs (and accomplishments) in 3 years! My Spanish is nowhere near where I want it to be but I am progressing steadily towards my goal of being a translator and I am a whole galaxy away from my Spanish level from when I first got here (which was nothing lol) This is the longest I have stayed anywhere since I left Texas! I think I like it here lol.

I can't wait to see what the future holds for my life.... you never know what is around the corner, so you must live everyday like its your last.

Tyler

The List

So I wanted to give yall a little update. Jenny and I are still doing great together. We are really happy and we are helping each other with language (3 days in Spanish, 3 days in English and Sunday free day) we don't get to spend a ton of time together because of our crazy work schedules but, we have started having dinner together every Tuesday and of course spending the weekends together. Well we have really tried to keep things interesting in the time that we do get to spend together. So we started making lists to keep us accountable to each other. To some people this may seem quite anal but, I like it.

It allows us to share our thoughts and goals and feel good when we get something done. We have started a study list (her words in English and me words in Spanish) a movie list (of movies we want to see) and a fun list of travel and other things that we want to do. It keeps us busy and doing interesting things!

I want to share our "Fun"list with you now, I realize for people outside of Colombia you wont know many of these places but it may be interesting to you anyway ( I hope) and you can help keep us accountable!

1. The Coast of Colombia
2. La Guajira (an area of Colombia with native people)
3. Paipa Colombia ( a place with hot springs)
4. Panaca (an Animal park)
5.Chia and Cota (twin cities outside of Bogota)
6.Parque Jaime Duque, Tayrona, Chingaza,Iguaque and Cocuy. (All nature reserves)
7. Rio Macarena ( a beautiful river with many different amazing colors)
8.Nemocon ( a city outside of Bogota)
9.Parque Simon Bolivar (one of the largest parks in Bogota)
10. The Planetarium
11. Go to the theater
12. Go to the orchestra
13. Go to the most famous cemetery in Bogota 
14. Paintballing
15. Rock Climbing in Suesca
16.Visit Medellin
17. Hang gliding/paragliding

 That's it so far! Keep in mind, I have already done some of this stuff and vis versa but it is still fun to do again together.

Now for the list of what we have done so far:

1.We visited a city called Villa de Leyva
2.Guasca (a city)
3. We went to the Colombian version of the White House ( we had a cool,free guided tour)
4. Zipa (a city)
5. Guatavita (a city)
6. La Calera (a city)

As you can see, we are just getting started but, I am looking forward to completing this list and more! Yall have a great day, Ty

Monday, March 02, 2015

You take the good with the bad....

Well first the good, Jenny and I are doing great. We have been traveling a lot and seeing new places outside of Bogota. We have been to a few small towns and it is nice to get outside of Bogota. Just last Sunday we went to the National Museum here in Bogota. All of the places outside of Bogota have been really nice, pretty typical Colonial and old fashioned but it is not real expensive to get out there and we have been really enjoying that. We also have a visit to the Presidential Palace planned. (Think Colombian White House) so I am excited about that! We have a list of things we want to do, and we have steadily been crossing them off! It is nice to have someone to share my adventures with.  I am looking forward to our future plans as well :)

Now for the not so good. Recently, I had a health scare (Don't worry I am fine now!) no big deal... But it could have been. Really makes you think about life and puts things in perspective when your health is up in the air... I am glad to say that everything is good but there for just a minute, I wasn't sure. I have been so lucky and so blessed to have the life I have, I really try not to take any moments for granted, its nice to stay grounded and be reminded every now and again that it can all be gone in a moment. I have always tried to live my life to the fullest and enjoy every second I have. Luckily (hopefully) I still have time to leave my legacy! I can't wait to see what is in store for me next, around the corner now that I am 30!

Now for the really not so good. As most of you know, I love Colombia . I have been here for almost 3 years. Longer then I have ever lived anywhere else (outside of Texas of course) Colombia does have its problems but I accept them and move on. But, sometimes it just beats you down. It is expensive to stay here legally,Bogota is really crowded,polluted,traffic is horrible, petty theft is rampant,corruption is bad,there is a lot of apathy here. Until now that hasn't truly bothered me, I have just accepted that is just part of the culture here. But sadly until the culture changes and the mentality changes, nothing will truly change in this country.

An example, Bogota has a metro bus system that is hideously overcrowded and overused,delayed and generally not that great. But, it is certainly better than nothing even if it could be greatly improved and better implemented. Well to get into the system you have to purchase a card and tap onto the system, then go through the turnstiles to enter the bus station after you have paid. Well people avoiding paying by jumping over the turnstiles is rampant. People also enter from the street directly into the station (by going through the doors that open to let people in and off the bus) and unless a police officer is literally standing right there to see it, no one does anything. Not a single thing. While I pay to ride everytime, all these jerks get to ride for free. People push and shove and rush into and off the buses. This is just one example. Another example is people purposely overcharging you or changing the price that they quoted you. There is a lot of victim blaming here. There is even a saying for it, "dar papaya" which in English roughly translates to, if it happens to you, it is your fault!

Now don't get me wrong, I still love Colombia, there are still great people here and it is still a great country but sometimes it just beats you down... Today for the first time I truly wondered is it worth it to put up with all this. But, I am working hard to reach my goal of being a Spanish translator and there are certainly good things here as well. No country is perfect. It will take a change in culture and mentality for things to truly change but I believe that it is possible.

Now to top it all of, I find out that the father of my best friend in the whole world, has lost his battle with Cancer. I am very close to their whole family. At least we can all take comfort in the fact that he is now in a better place. So needless to say, it has been a very sad, frustrating day for me. 

Well tomorrow is a new and hopefully better day...

Yall take care,Tyler

Friday, January 16, 2015

After I returned to Colombia

So, I returned to Colombia December 26th (after my horrible multiple hour layover in Florida) I arrived to Colombia and breezed through customs and immigration without any problems. After my "Welcome back to Colombia"from the nice customs lady I was on my way. After getting settled and unpacking and slept and slept.

Two days after returning to Colombia and after spending a bit of time with Jenny and her family I was off! I went with my roommate Mark, to Cali Colombia for a famous feria/festival that they have there. It was our first time in Cali for us both. The weather was great! no rain, nice and hot. Very enjoyable shorts/tshirt weather. We had the chance to try some great new food that you cannot get here in Bogota. We met a nice America traveler named Patrick and hung out with him for a while. We just walked around and explored Cali. Very relaxing. There is like 3 million people in that city as opposed to 9 million here in Bogota, it was cleaner and better weather and I really enjoyed the food. For me, Cali was great.

I also was able to celebrate my 30th birthday (Gasp!) and New Years Eve there. It was really fun. we did some traditional New Years Eve stuff with a friend of Mark's family. I had a good birthday and all in all it was a relaxing time. I enjoyed my visit. Initially, I had 2 round trip bus tickets there and back but due to time constraints and them not having any space available on the days we needed I was unable to use them. So, instead, we flew up there. The flight was just 45 minutes and it was great. Zero problems. The problems started on the way back.

So, I had purchased my bus ticket for the way back when I was in Bogota. Mark said he would wait and buy one there. (Because I had to be back at an exact date/time to start work again) well he had some major problems getting a ticket (he finally found one) so we had to ride separately. I was told I would be going on a nice bus for an 8 to 10 hour trip back to Bogota. I was not getting my hopes up but, I wished it would be pleasant.

What actually happened was not pleasant at all. :( I boarded the bus and right away a girl was sitting in my assigned seat so I had to boot her out. After that she was replaced by another woman. I then fell asleep for about an hour and suddenly woke up to screaming in the seat right next to me! She had moved and was replaced by a man and his 4 year old kid. The kid was screaming and screaming and had worked himself into such a frenzy he actually started vomiting. I didn't even have my headphones :(

I later found out that the woman who vacated the seat for the man and his child was actually his wife! I offered to switch seats with her (she was about 4 rows back in paradise) but she refused! So I had to deal with an uncomfortable seat next to a screaming vomiting child (until he wore himself out and went to sleep) the father never once tried to calm him down!

For 16 hours. My bus journey started at 9am and I arrived back in Bogota 16 hours later! (Double the estimate of course.) It was horrible and from here on out I am flying both ways when I go anywhere long distance in Colombia. That torture was not worth the cost savings.


I had to go to work that very morning that I got back and since then I have been back to work and back to normal. So now you are all caught up. Yall take care,Tyler

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

My trip back to Texas

Well my yearly trip back to Texas has almost come and gone once again. I just have one day left. It has been a good trip as usual. I have managed to see almost all my friends and family (for those I missed, sorry! next time) and even some old friends that I have not seen in many years. I also have gotten to eat almost all the food that I love and bring back all the food that I miss. In addition, this year I am playing Santa/delivery man and bringing back a lot of things for my friends back in Colombia.

I have missed Jenny a lot since being here but thanks to the magic of technology we have been able to talk almost daily and I have been sending her lots of pictures of Texas and my life here. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say. So I will be excited to get back to Bogota and see her again and get back to normal life. But, before I do that I have the great fortune of having one last short vacation. I am going with my roommate Mark for one week to a city in Colombia, called Cali and while this vacation will just be short, I am excited! It is our first time in this city and it should be fun!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve so we are going down to my grandmother's to send time with her and all my extended family. It will be nice to see everyone again. I will get to eat lots and have some fun. One last blast before I fly out back to Bogota on Christmas Day. It was much cheaper to fly out December 25th! But, I won't actually arrive into Colombia until December 26th due to my enormous layover/stopover in Ft. Lauderdale :( I have no idea what I am going to do for all that time!

Anyway, that is that. Merry Christmas, Happy holidays. Whatever you choose to call it. Happy New Year!

P.S. This year I will ring in my 30th birthday and New Years in Cali!

Friday, November 21, 2014

My almost December Update

So, I figured since it is almost December I would give yall a quick update. We are approaching our American Thanksgiving date here in Bogota! We decided on next Saturday. It will be really nice to be with my friends and hang out and eat! it is gonna be fun! My saturday classes up at work have now ended and I am just working my night classes until I leave for Texas on December 2nd. Not to much longer now! Mark is still in Canada and seems to be doing well up there visiting family and friends, But from what I understand, it is snowing quite a bit up there! (Also in Texas :(   ) Here in Bogota it has been raining and raining and raining! :(  My friend Will from Texas is here visiting me now. I feel bad because I have to work so much while he is here, between both my jobs but we are still having a good time.

Things with Jenny are still going well. We only just started but so far so good. I really like her and somehow she really likes me too ;) I have to renew my visa yet again soon. I have done that process so many times now I can do it in my sleep. But, that still does not make it fun. I am looking forward to my time (3 weeks) back in The States. It will be nice to see everyone again. Friends and Family both. But, I got some sad news yesterday. One of my best friends from Texas moved to San Francisco, so it is going to be quite hard to see him now :( I will miss you Ralfie! My Spanish lessons are still going well, and considering Jenny doesn't speak any English she sure is helping and I am happy for it! I am so glad that I cannot use English as a crutch and I force myself to figure out how to say it in Spanish, one way or another. She is super patient with me. But, after almost 3 years here (I can't believe its been that long!) my Spanish is well beyond "Beginner".

I wish I had more to tell you but I guess that is it. Yall take care now,Tyler

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

It is November already!

Well it has been about two months since I have blogged! Man, I really am getting bad about this now.... Anyway, whats new? I went with my friends a few weeks ago to a little town outside of Bogota, it poured rain and was generally terrible weather but we had a great time. I was really glad to refresh my soul outside of Bogota! All of us gringos even danced in the rain haha. It was a relaxing weekend had by all. I  have not done a whole ton since then really. Just working and working as usual. Trying to save money before I head off to The States in December to see my friends and family again! Pretty excited to have Christmas at home and then return to Colombia after that.

Halloween was fun this year, I dressed up with my friends as part of a human roller coaster. It was a good time. Our costumes did not hold up long but it was still fun. Now we are here in November and it is almost my Dad's 60th birthday. I cannot believe my parents are 60 and I am almost 30! Where does the time go? It seems just like yesterday that I arrived in alone for the first time (on a long term basis) and that was almost 6 years ago now!

I recently met a girl named Jenny and she is a real sweet heart. Things are going well so far. She is Colombian born but lived in Spain for many years and she doesn't speak English (but she can understand more or less) which is exactly what I need! She has really been helping my Spanish and I am really thankful for that! I am still taking my Spanish lessons and they are chugging along. But, now that I can speak Spanish with her on a daily basis it sure is helping me. She is very patient with my Spanish and is always willing to work with me. She is a traveler like me and she has lived in China,Italy,Mexico,Spain and Colombia. We have a lot of common interests!  So far so good :) I look forward to seeing how things will go.

Now I am just gearing up for my American Thanksgiving here with my friends and then Christmas at home! Oh, after I return to Colombia on December 26th I will go almost immediately to Cali (a city in Colombia) for a very famous festival that lasts until the first of the year. I have never been to Cali before and I will be going with Mark (my roommate) Right now Mark is in Canada visiting his family for the first time in 3 years. He will be gone on until mid December then, he will be back in Colombia.

Well I guess that is it for now. Yall take care til next time,Tyler

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A long overdue update

Well today just happens to be Sept 11th 2014 which is always a sad day for me but its been so long since I have blogged I figured I would just go ahead and do it. So, by my count I haven´t blogged in a month or two so I have a lot to catch you up on!

First things first. Way back in July we had the World Cup here in South America (Brazil to be exact) and while I have never been a soccer/futbol fan, just living here in Colombia and being here in the madness was quite an experience! I even bought a Colombian soccer jersey to go along with my Brazilian one that I got as a gift and I watched every single Colombian game. Colombia was missing one of their best players so they already started out at a disadvantage but consider that fact, they did really well! They had one super star (who has now been traded to Spain or something) named James something or other.

He is like 22 years old and he was really pretty amazing! If memory serves, Colombia was eliminated by Brazil in the quarter or semi finals so we got pretty far. Brazil in turn was eliminated and the final two was Argentina against Germany and Germany ended up taking the whole thing. Things have been really bad here in Colombia here in the past so I was just happy to see Colombians happy! There was a spate of violence after the first Colombian game (which we won I might add!) like 10 people died here in Bogota, so after that they banned all alcohol sales on game days which did help cut down on the problems a little bit but, most people just bought alcohol before the ban went into effect and drank at their houses.

After the World Cup Jessica came down here and spent a month with me here in Colombia and we had a good time together then she went back to Texas to start her school year again. Jessica was also still here when my parents came to Colombia for the first time and I got to show them my adopted country. They of course did not like Bogota much because of the traffic and pollution and all the crowds but, I got to take them to the area of Colombia they really liked it there and so did I. It was my first time there.  It was beautiful and peaceful and we didn't have a care in the world. It was so good to share those experiences with them.

So that brings us up to August/September now. Well in August I started back at my University job (in addition to working my internet based classes and a couple of private classes) so needless to say, I have been consumed by work and not doing much else! I have been out of Bogota  couple of times for some weekend trips and had a few relaxing days with friends but mostly just work and more work.

Now that we are in September I have the pleasure of having another friend of mine from New York, here in Colombia! So I am looking forward to showing her around. We haven't seen each other in 4+ years! Oh! I forgot to mention that in between Jessica and my parents both coming down I had the pleasure of hosting my dear cousin Mattie (from my mom´s side) and we had a great time together and I was really happy to show her around as well. She was here in Colombia for a few months doing some volunteer work, and by all accounts she had a great time, or at least I hope she did!

So  yes, in summary, I have been really busy hosting people and showing them around and working working. Today is not only a tough day for me because it is September 11th but because in two days it will be the 11th  anniversary of Therisa´s death. For those of you who know me, you know that it is always hard for me every year. The pain has lessened a bit over the years but it never really goes away. I still think about her and what could have been, quite often. She was so full of potential.

On a happier note, I will be coming home December 2nd thru the 25th of this year! so Texas people, see you not to long from now! Well I guess that is all I have for you now. To be quite frank, I think I wrote enough haha. Yall take care,Tyler

Thursday, June 19, 2014

World Cup Madness!

Well my Lord! it has been quite a while since I have updated my blog! So what has been going on in my life you may ask? Well let me tell you. The last time I blogged I believe I told yall about my parents coming in July. That is still going to happen and I am really excited about that! But, in addition to that, my cousin is coming to stay with me for a week (she arrives tomorrow!) I am super excited to see her because it has been quite some time since I have got to see her face to face. She is here volunteering in Colombia for a few months and I am looking forward to hearing all her stories and sharing mine!

Not only is Mattie coming here (and letting me play tour guide) but also a girl I went to High School with (Jessica) she will be here in a week! I am really excited about her visit because it has been in the works for a long time...It will be her first time to Colombia so I am looking forward to sharing my adopted homeland with her.  So between Mattie,Jessica and my parents I will be a busy man! Also, I just found out that in September a good friend of mine I met in New Zealand, she will be coming down as well! It has only taken almost 2.5 years but everyone is coming all at once now haha! I have so much planned for everyone and I am just hoping I can fit all my plans in and also actually get some work done at the same time!

Well other than all that, I am still teaching my Internet classes (but now my "real" job at the university is on break until July 28th) once everyone gets here I am going to drop all my work (apart from the internet classes) until July 28th though. So I will have a little vacation and lots and lots of family/friend time! It is going to be great! The apartment is still loud with those bars so close but I am just used to the noise by now (and I sleep in earplugs) so really all that is pretty normal.

Here is what is not normal. COLOMBIA IS IN THE WORLD CUP! I will make an honest confession and let you know that for the vast majority of my life I have had zero interest in soccer (even when I played it as a kid haha) but, being here in this country that is SO insanely passionate about soccer or football or whatever you want to call it, it really is quite amazing! Imagine that your city of choice has just won the world/national championships in your sport of choice. Imagine the atmosphere the night of the big win. You know that feeling in America that last maybe 24 hours if you are lucky. Well it is that feeling EVERYDAY here. Now that Colombia has won both of their games so far (3 to 0 against Greece and 2 to 1 against Ivory Coast) the air is thick with more than just pollution! It truly is an amazing place to be during World Cup time. Especially because relatively speaking we are so close to Brazil (where the World Cup is being held) and Colombia was just ranked the most passionate soccer fans on the planet (The USA was last on that list haha)

As I said, I am still not a huge fan of soccer/football but just being here at this time in this atmosphere you just cant help but to get caught up in it and it truly is a great thing to see everyone so happy here, after so many years of the bad stuff from the past. But, Colombia still does have its problems with sport violence. I cannot wrap my head around this, but after the first game against Greece, 10 people around the city were murdered, over 150 people hospitalized and there was over 3000 reported fights along with 250+ traffic accidents and COLOMBIA WON! That is the crazy part! People are regularly killed here for supporting the "wrong" local team (but everyone is united as one for The Colombian National Team!)

Well they threatened to cancel the local championship games a while back (nothing to do with The World Cup) if people kept killing each other. Now with the most recent game against The Ivory Coast (An African country) Colombia won that game and everyone was happy of course! But, the city of Bogota decided to evoke "Ley Seca" (Dry Laws) so no one could drink any alcohol at any bars or clubs in the city. Well I will find out tomorrow if this actually decreased the amount of people killing each other over sport. I sure hope so! For those of you who might think Colombia is full of sport crazed maniacs and I am in constant danger, don't worry! I am not near passionate enough about soccer to get myself in any trouble where I could get hurt. I only support The Colombian National Team anyway. Everyone loves them!

Colombia has 45 million people so there is bound to murders just like anywhere but, Colombia is MUCH safer than before. I would be more afraid to be alone in parts of Dallas then I would be in parts of Bogota. The thing I just can't understand though is why people kill each other over sports. Sure it happens in The States but nowhere near as much as it does here. One death is one to many and there is usually more than one person killed here after a local or national soccer match. Anyway, don't worry I will be fine and it truly is an amazing time to be in this country during The World Cup! I wish Americans could get this passionate about anything! Well ladies and gents, that is the end of my rant.

Yall take care,Ty


Monday, April 21, 2014

Nothing and more Nothing.....

So I don't believe I have blogged at all since our move in day. That has been a while! Well what has been going on? not much really! Our new apartment is really nice on the inside and the only downside is the outside..... unfortunately we are across the street from two bars (wish I would have known that before signing a year contract!) and they are very loud! But, other than that everything is fine and dandy.

I really have slacked off on the blog I know.... But there is just nothing to tell you. I don't write if nothing new happens and lately nothing has really happened. I am no longer "traveling" I am living life and being boring. I am still here doing the same things you are doing, just in a different country and in a different language. I do get restless and think about moving on but really I am not completely unhappy. I do have a specific goal in mind and I really want to accomplish it. In order to accomplish my goal I need to be disciplined enough to get there. That involves being a boring " real adult" for a while so that is what I am doing, as much as I can't stand it!

We just came off our Easter holidays here, which is basically over a week in Colombia where everything shuts down and no one goes to work or does anything haha. As for me, I was sick for almost all of it which really sucked because I didn't get to travel or anything :( But, I did have my internet teaching job going on so I was at least making a little money as opposed to doing completely nothing. I also got to finish almost all of Breaking Bad! I have like 3 episodes left! things are starting to get crazy on that show.... NO SPOILERS!

Also, MY PARENTS ARE COMING IN JULY! I am really excited to get them down here finally! In addition, my little cousin will be living here in Colombia for three months volunteering and I am excited for her! (separate trip from the parents) Well now that I am finally feeling better and back to the grind of work work work I doubt anything else exciting will happen for a while but, if it does I will be sure to keep yall updated.

Yall take care,Ty

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Moving Day

Well Mark and I have officially moved now! We are still in Bogota but transport wise we are about 30 minutes closer to our respective workplaces. Our apartment is brand new and we are the first ones to move in. It is pretty nice but not perfect. There is a few things that need to be fixed but nothing really major.  The biggest problem so far is that we are quite close to a club/bar and it is VERY loud all hours of the night :( But, so far we have only been here during the weekend I am really hoping that during the week the noise won't be so bad. It is really a shame because we didn't know about the noise level before we moved in.

This apartment was so hard to get going thru hoop after hoop and mortgaging pretty much everything we have to get this place. Even Colombians have huge problems getting apartments because there is so much red tape. Here in Colombia the people and/or companies who have apartments and want to rent require you to give them so much "security" up front that is a big deal to even get in an apartment. So once you are actually in it is just such a relief. I really don't think I will be moving again if I can help it.

Due to the fact that we had to pay 3 months rent up front and my boss had to co sign for us AND we had to pay 10% of the value of the contract included with our first month's  rent payment this has been an expensive deal. But now that we are in just because Colombia doesn't have any zoning laws and they can put a loud bar very close to a residential apartment, unfortunately we are just stuck with it. I guess over time I will learn how to sleep with all this noise.

Anyway, you take the good with the bad and we are here and it is a cheaper more central location with more people around and more economical things to see and do. So now that I am basically organized in my room we just have to organize the house. Luckily when we moved in the movers that we got were not SUPER expensive. well that's all I have for you for now.

Yall take care til next time,Tyler

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Feb 2014 News

Well hello there friends :) I just wanted to give yall a little update on my life. There is a time here in Colombia from around November to January where most people here don't work much (if at all) due to Christmas holidays. Due to this fact, I don't get much work teaching in this time obviously so I have to really save my money during the year so that I can survive this two month time not working much. Up until now I have been working "average" teaching hours and making "average" money. The good news is that here recently I have gotten a lot more hours! (Obviously a lot more money as well!) so this is good news for me! Now I don't have to worry so much about money. I am teaching English for my boss still, teaching English via the internet and I am teaching my own personal classes and also a Saturday morning class at a local university here. So obviously that is a lot of  hours but good for me!

In addition Mark and I (My Canadian roommate Mark) we are moving to another apartment in Bogota in another part of the city. So I am excited for our new apartment starting March 1st. We will save a little bit of money on rent and transport costs and get a chance of scenery. So basically I am just here living life as usual. My life is neither SUPER exciting nor super boring. I am just happy and healthy and a lucky guy. You know in my teens I was worried that I would die having had a boring life with no stories to tell. Nothing to REALLY live for. I am so lucky and thankful I can now say with certainty that is not the case.

Also my friend Adrian (who is Irish) he lives in a Colombian city called Bucamanga (Which happens to be one of my favorite cities) he came here to Bogota for a day so it was really nice hanging out with him even if it was just for a bit.

P.S. After 5 years of writing this blog (Some months more posts than other obviously) I have now reached 40,000+ views! Thank you all my readers!!

Yall take care,Tyler 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014 Update

Well hello dear readers, I want to give you my first real update for 2014. So I told you back in 2013 that it was my plan to move to Medellin and start my Spanish classes soon. So my plan has changed now. I won't be moving to Medellin due to not being able to get an apartment in Medellin and not being able to renew my visa if I leave Bogota. So I am staying in Bogota still working at the same job but in addition I am now teaching English via the Internet and it is going well so far. I am also looking into moving to a new apartment (still here in Bogota) and while I do hate the weather and the traffic here in Bogota now that I am here for another year I am really going to try and make the best of it. Live could be better but it could be much much worse. Spanish classes are still on the plan. That hasn't changed. I just need the time and the money and this year in 2014 I WILL make it happen!

I am now 29 years old (inching closer and closer to 30!) and my old roommate Mark (The Canadian) has moved back in with me and the girls are gone. I had a great Christmas Eve in Texas and my Christmas Day on the plane back to Bogota then I had my birthday,New Years Eve and New years here in Bogota. So I guess to wrap this all up 2014 so far has been pretty nice and I hope it stays that way. This weekend I will be leaving Bogota to go to my bosses farm in a city about two hours away from Bogota for a relaxing weekend there then back to the grind on Monday.

P.S. I know this was short and sweet but really nothing super amazing has happened yet in 2014 so I didn't have much to write. My life just isn't as exciting as it was when I was traveling but I guess you can't have all the excitement all the time and I am still pretty happy.

Yall take care,Tyler

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Welcome to 2014!

Well hello there dear readers. Welcome to 2014! Now Christmas Eve,Christmas,My Birthday,New Years Eve and New Years have passed. So I can officially welcome yall to 2014. I hope that is going to be a great year for all of yall and a great year for me. You know I was just thinking, even though my blogging has become less frequent and more boring as of late, I have been writing this blog since 2009. That is a long time! What great memories I have had so far and I hope I will continue to have. I have been very lucky and very blessed with great family and friends and support from all around the world. I have gotten to see and do so many amazing things all before the age of 30. My lifestyle is not for everyone but I love what I do.

I have some big plans ahead for me in 2014 including a potential move to a new city (still in Colombia) and I have just finished training for a new English teaching job. My big goal for 2014 is to FINALLY start real Spanish classes so that I can really improve my Spanish skills all over instead just speaking the street Spanish as I do. I am looking forward to the new changes in my life. Mark my old roommate from Bogota is coming back after some extended travels so it will be good to be living with him again for a while before I potentially make my big move to my new city in Colombia around March/April time.

All the best to you and yours. Ty

I know this blog was short and sweet but I hope you liked it anyway.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Texas,Christmas Eve,Christmas,Boxing Day,My Birthday and New Years Eve

Well I am now back safely in Bogota after my three week visit to Texas. I had a great time seeing my family and friends over the Christmas holidays. This marks two times in one year that I have been back home for a visit. It is much easier to get home from South America than it is from Asia or Australia/NZ. Unfortunately I had to fly out at 6am on Christmas morning but I couldn't pass up the good deal that I got on my airfare. I did have a great Christmas Eve with all my family though. Got to spend some quality time with all of them which was nice.

Unfortunately Colombians celebrate Christmas at midnight on the 24th so I also missed Colombian Christmas but I still had a good time. I will be here in Colombia for New Years Eve which is always a good time. Three weeks was plenty of time to visit most of my friends and I got to a concert with my dad and another concert with my friends. My dad just recently had back surgery so he now on the mend but its looking like he will pull thru just fine. My visit home was uneventful other than getting to see everyone and eat all the food that I wanted to eat. There was a big ice storm in our area of Texas though. That was unusual for sure and I was stuck inside for a good week or so but I got to spend more time with my family so that was nice.

My flight(s) home to Texas and back to Bogota were also uneventful other than screaming children and such. But, on the way back to Bogota I got upgraded to what used to be free but now costs money exit row and I sat next to a really cool guy who was from close to my hometown back in Texas. So now 2013 chugs along and we approach my (gasp!) 29th birthday! and also New Years. Should be a good time had by all I hope. Most of my friends here in Bogota are outside of the city at the moment on vacations and such but hopefully they will be back for my birthday. All of my roommates have now moved out and I am looking for new ones. It is an odd feeling being all alone in this house. There is also a decent possibility that I will be moving from Bogota in March/April to a new city in Colombia called Medellin Colombia I am pretty ready for a change in scenery and weather!

Well that is all I have for yall for now. Merry Christmas,Happy Hanukkah,Happy Kwanza or whatever else it is you may celebrate. Happy Boxing Day (for those in the British Commonwealth) and Happy almost New Years Eve/Day.- Tyler

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Extraordinary

ex·traor·di·nar·y
ikˈstrôrdnˌerē,ˌekstrəˈôrdn-/
adjective
adjective: extraordinary; adjective: extra-ordinary
1.
very unusual or remarkable.
"the extraordinary plumage of the male". Synonyms: remarkable, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, phenomenal;
out of the ordinary, unusual, uncommon, rare, surprising;
literarywondrous
"an extraordinary coincidence"
 
I think about this all the time. I have wanted to do something extraordinary my whole life. I have wanted to live an extraordinary life for as long as I can remember. I have wanted to make a difference and be remembered. Now that I am almost 30 years old and after almost five years of constant travel I have a little better perspective on this. Have I lived an extraordinary life? I guess that depends on your definition of extraordinary. That will be different for everyone. Before the age of 30 I have seen more of this world then most people will see in a lifetime. I have been to places and done things that many people only dream about. I have had the honor and privilege and knowing what it is like to experience poverty and Western World Standards. I have literally lived the rags to riches scenario. 
 
I no longer take things for granted because I know that most things that many people have that are "common" are luxuries in many places around the world. I have been blessed over and over to meet so many amazing people from around the world that I cannot even keep track of them all. They are of all ages,shapes,sizes,cultures,backgrounds and languages. I have kept some as friends for a day, some for a week,some for a year and some for a lifetime. Everyone I have met in my travels has had something to offer me, whether it be good or bad it has helped shape me into who I am today. I have only been able to do what I do with the love and support of my family and friends back home in Texas. I would not be who am I today without my loving parents and family and friends.

But the question still remains in my mind. I have done many great things that make me a happy and fulfilled person but what have I really done with my life? What have I done to leave a legacy? Who have I truly helped? What will be left behind when I am gone? Do I have a few regrets in life? Sure. Everyone does. Do I have a ton of regrets? No. I have been very lucky and blessed to do what I do. My life is not perfect but it certainly isn't horrible. I guess it will just take more time to figure out what my actual legacy is. But I hope it is a good one. I try and do the right thing and be a decent person. I want to be remembered for more than just "passing through" this life. 

Tyler

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ohh Controversy!

This post is going to be controversial. If you are not ok with that please stop reading now. That being said, I am about to speak my mind like it or not. Here goes....

In 2009, breast cancer research received $872 million worth of federal funding, while prostate cancer received $390 million. It is estimated that fiscal year 2010 will end similarly, with breast cancer research getting $891 million and prostate cancer research receiving $399 million. October is breast cancer month in the USA (and I believe world wide) Pink ribbons everywhere,donation boxes, fun runs,businesses donating money. Awareness is everywhere. You know what that is great! I am not some woman hating breast cancer loving monster. But what frustrates me is, there is no equality! How many of you knew that According to estimates from the National Institutes of Health, in the United States in 2010, 207,090 women and 1,970 men will get new cases of breast cancer, while 39,840 women and 390 men will likely die from the disease. The estimated new cases of prostate cancer this year — all affecting men — is 217,730, while it is predicted 32,050 will die from the disease. How many of you knew that September is Prostate Cancer Month and their slogan color is blue? Look at the numbers. A very similar number of women get diagnosed with breast cancer as do men with prostate cancer.

Movember (a global movement started in 2003 to raise money for prostate cancer and other male related cancers)has raised the awareness of cancers affecting men. Also the now disgraced Lance Armstrong still has a few worthy foundation, Live Strong. These are a good start but only within the past few years have men's health issues even been talked about. Do you know why? Politicians. Politicians realize that women are a big majority of their voters and if they want to win votes then they have to overly finance breast cancer research while leaving men's health issues in the dust. I participate in Movember every year so that I can have an excuse to grow a mustache and raise awareness at the same time. It is a great conversation starter.

I realize that in many parts of the world even in 2013 women are marginalized. They get beat,raped,persecuted,forbidden to go to school or drive. The list goes on. But in the developed world women are NOT marginalized they have the exact same rights that I do. Here in Bogota the other day I was on the bus and I saw a bus wrap poster on the inside of the bus teaching women how to do a breast self exam. It was paid for and sponsored by Glaxo Smith Kline (a huge pharmaceutical company). That is great that they want to teach more women how to check themselves for breast cancer but do you know why they did it? Profit. The old saying is "You have to spend money to make money" they spent money on this campaign so that everyone would think they are such a loving and caring company and request their flavor of medicine.

Where is the bus wraps telling men to go get checked for prostate or testicular cancer? Where are our fun runs? donation boxes? Companies donating money? You don't see these things because now it is male health issues that are marginalized. In many ways men are still "top of the ladder" but in health issues we are at the bottom. It shouldn't be like this. We men deserve and have the right to at least equal and fair representation for health issues and we are not getting it. It makes me very sad.

Agree or disagree with me I want to hear your thoughts. Click Here to see where I got my facts and figures from. -Tyler

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Exciting stuff

Well I do actually have some exciting news to tell you. In addition to my teaching (I just recently got offered online teaching work which is great!) as an add on to my in person teaching. I have also been doing some acting! Just as an extra but still I get to be a famous gringo haha. I have been filming two telenovela's, one set in the 70's in NYC and the other is mob like drama. It is easy work and I don't even have to say anything! We get fed and I get to meet a lot of new people. But, the days are long. The least amount of hours I have worked is 10 and the most is 15. There is no overtime pay :( But mostly it is a lot of standing around doing nothing. Then when we actually get to do something it is wild and crazy activity. Usually many takes of the same scene over and over (I have done 20+ before) and then back to doing nothing again. As extras without speaking parts we are like the bottom of the food chain and no one really cares about us but we do get paid for very little actual work. As soon as I know when the actual episodes are going to air I will let yall know.

Also very soon I will be back in Texas for a visit! I am excited to see my friends and family again. It will be nice to be home for the holidays for the first time in a while. Until then I guess it is business as normal here. Well I just wanted to give yall a little update. Take care,Ty

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Wow its been a long time!

Wow it has been a long time since I have blogged for yall! it really has been a combo of not having a computer/internet access and not having much to blog about. But I am back! Well lets see.... what has happened to me in the past two months? I went rock climbing in a Colombian town called Suesca. it was my first time to do that and it was really fun! I am hoping to go again. Now that the weather is getting bad again (this time of year the weather is always bad) I wasn´t sure how I would do with the rock climbing and at first it was slow going but once I got the hang of it I really liked it.

It is now November and we just had a "puente" last weekend which in Spanish literally means "bridge" but in this context it is more like a four day weekend. Luckily we also get another one coming up this weekend! Colombia actually has the second most holiday days off out of any country in the world. Argentina is first I do believe. Last weekend I just did a lot of relaxing but this weekend for the holiday time I am going to try and actually do something fun. I am just not sure what or where yet.

Work is work. It has been going slowly since they changed our contract and gave us all less hours but I am still limping along and just waiting for December to get here because I am going back to Texas to visit my family. Starting again mid January Colombia will start to function again and hopefully work should pick up. I will be looking for more work again in January but things are ok. Could be much worse than they are now. I am happy with my apartment and I have a good job even if I am not working as much as I would like. I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach. Even at this reduced rate I actually make much more than your average Colombian does, so I consider myself lucky. Health wise I am doing fine so no big complaints here.

For Halloween I got to go to the Halloween party of the company that we are subcontracted too. We just provide them with English teaching services but they were nice enough to let us go. I had a good time and it was free food and free booze so you can´t complain about that.

I really don´t know what else to tell yall. Colombia has calmed down now and things are back to normal. Of course there is still protests and things (currently it is the healthcare workers that are protesting) but nothing near as bad as it was a few months ago when they blocked the roads and all that stuff. Honestly I am doing basically the same thing that all of yall are doing, I am just doing it in another country and in another language. I wish I had more to tell you.

I remember back when I was living in Australia and NZ and doing all my traveling I always had something amazing and exciting to tell yall. Now my life has become routine and boring but I guess it can´t always be exciting. I am thankful for what I have and I am still working on my goal of becoming a Spanish Translator. There is things that I miss about The States but I also really enjoy living here. I have written many blog posts about how Colombia is pretty messed up sometimes but, no country is perfect. I am overall pretty happy here and I invite any of yall to come down here and visit me!

Well I don´t have anything else for yall so I am gonna end this one. I know this was a boring update but that is basically all I have down for the past two months. Yall take care,Ty

Friday, September 13, 2013

Therisa

So this is the big one. It has been ten years since Therisa died. I can't believe how fast the time has gone and how old I am getting now. I remember every second of my time with her and I remember every second of the day I found out she had died. She was one of those people who would have grown up to really be someone. To really do something. I truly believe with all my heart that she had unlimited potential and sadly she was gone well before her time.

I don't know if I have ever really spoken about her but I will now. Her and I were very close all through middle school and high school. We even shared a locker together. We had  some great times and some great memories. I still miss her all the time and her death had a huge impact on my life. But, now that I have ten years of perspective on it, I realize that some good changes in my life personally happened that may not have happened had she not died. I still wish she was here with us though.

I have very few regrets in my life but I am about to tell all of you the biggest regret in my life which I share with very few people (until now that is). It was our high school prom and I had taken another friend of mine to the prom and Therisa also had another date as well ( I can't remember who) but anyway she asked me to dance with her. I would have loved to dance with her but it was a rap song playing. Those of you who know me, know I don't dance. So I told her no. She said to me "Come on Tyler just feel the beat and dance with me" I again told her no. I never got another chance to dance with her because she died.

If I could go back to any moment in time it would be that one. I would dance with her all night long. To any song. I have regretted my whole life that I turned her down and never got another chance to dance with her.

I remember the night she died, I saw her at the football game and we talked and she hugged me and then she left with some friends in her car. I remember how she smelled, how she felt. I remember every detail. The next morning on Saturday I was going to my college credit class and I stopped at the donut store for breakfast. I saw a girl I went to school with there, she told me Therisa had died the previous night. I didn't believe her, I couldn't believe her. So I continued to my college class. I arrived at sat down then someone called my phone and told me Therisa had died. It was then that it sunk in and my whole world just collapsed.

At 18 years old I had never ever been through anything so traumatic. I didn't know how to deal with my emotions. So I left  my college class and drove straight to the high school where they were having a impromptu memorial service for her. I just remember everyone crying and these few women actually screaming. (Therisa was not the only person killed that night) I remember the pain and sadness.

After that, I went with my mom to Therisa's viewing. They had her in the casket in a pink fuzzy sweater but it didn't look like her at all. I wish I hadn't have gone. I hated viewings and I still do. For her funeral they played Lee Ann Womack's "I hope you dance" after she was buried, for days I couldn't sleep.

At first I just didn't know how to process all of this. I was so deeply sad and lost. Then I was angry at God and at everyone and everything. Finally came the acceptance that she was gone and she wasn't coming back. But for years I searched for that magic bullet answer of why she had to die so young and why she was taken from this world. I talked to so many different people and no one could give me an answer that satisfied me.

Then one afternoon, I was visiting her grave site alone and I was really hurting. But I saw this man there and he was visiting the grave of his son who had died. It was just him and I in the whole cemetery. I am going to keep the details of our conversation private because they are deeply personal to me. But, he really truly helped me. I never got his name and I never saw him again but I will never forget that man or what he said to me.

Now ten years later I can look back on all this and know that her death had a purpose. It was so hard to go through that for me (and for all her family and friends) but she changed my life and really changed me. It has not all been terrible though. I still have the great memories and I will never forget her. She is dead and not coming back but one day I truly believe I will see her again. I love you Therisa.

So that is my story. Ten years from now I still won't have forgotten her. If there is someone you love then tell them if you haven't told them. If you have told them, tell them again. You never know when your time is up. -Tyler

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My weekend away from Bogota

So this past weekend I had the chance to leave Bogota for the first time since June. I was very lucky because I got to go somewhere hot! It was not super far away but three hours is far enough away to get some decent weather :) I went out (again) to my boss's place for a relaxing weekend away with my friends from work and we did pretty much what we did last time. Drink some beer,eat some food,swim in the pool and just generally relax. It was great! One of my co-workers also brought her friends with her. They are on their honeymoon and they came to Bogota to visit her. They are from Croatia just like she is. They spoke good English and were super nice. Colombia is a unique and interesting honeymoon destination and I am glad they gave this country a chance. Justin also brought some of his friends along who will now be our new co-workers for this semester whenever we finally start working full time again.

I don't have much else to say right now so I guess one long paragraph will cover it. Yall take care til the next time,Ty

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Protests

So Colombia has gotten rather interesting lately, to say the least. It all started when the farmers here starting protesting because the government was not giving them a fair price for their produce. It is costing them more to cultivate produce than they are receiving at the market and the government is not giving them any kind of subsidies. I can understand their frustration but, at first it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. I choose to live in third world and emerging economies so protest and civil unrest are a fact of life. People in these countries are much more vocal about problems than Americans are back home.

What made this different is that there is other groups protesting as well. Teachers,Students,Miners,Farmers,Healthcare Workers,Truckers and the list goes on. Now they have all united into one massive group and they are blocking the roads and messing with transport and generally making life difficult until the government gives in and now "regular" citizens have joined the protests. At first the government/police/military was pretty restrained but they certainly have not been giving the protesters what they wanted. Then people started dying. A few protesters and a few police. People started getting hurt and things got a little crazy.

Now the president has suspended talks with the protesters (superrrr great idea right?) and declared martial law. He has sent 50,000 military troops into Bogota and the surrounding areas and there is talk of a nightly curfew. The mayor of Bogota has also outlawed alcohol sales in certain areas of Bogota to keep the violence down. Food prices are starting to increase (due to the truckers striking and the farmers blocking the roads) and the protests are getting more frequent. But, so far neither side will give. In America when people protest generally it goes on for a day or two and then nothing. People generally are not truly motivated to protest. Here this could go on for months. People are very strong willed here because they have to be. The government generally does not budge here until things get really bad.

Don't worry about me, I am safe and not locked up in my apartment just yet.  I plan to keep myself in one piece and try real hard not to get tear gassed or beat up. I will keep yall updated. If you want to read more about the situation here right now, Translate this article into English or your language.

Take care and remember as messed up as you think America might be right now and if you blame Obama (or whoever else) just remember that your country is not being held hostage and under martial law, with the military taking control and able to arrest whoever they want for whatever reason. Be thankful for what you have. Americans in general (not all Americans) take their freedoms for granted and do not care to protest or be motivated to change anything BECAUSE nothing is REALLY bad back home. But that is not the case in all countries. For the most part all these people are protesting because they feel they have no choice and have to force the government's hand. They are not doing it to be purely malicious and they just want to be able to have the basic rights and make a decent living.

Tyler

Thursday, August 22, 2013

D-Wayne and I

I know I have really slowed down on this blog and don't write so much anymore but when I have the motivation and something interesting to write I make sure to put it here. Well a few interesting things have happened recently so here goes.  Roughly three years ago I was living in Auckland New Zealand and I met Dwayne (via Couch Surfing). Here in Colombia organized events from Couch Surfing are not that popular but in New Zealand that was exactly the opposite. We had a weekly meeting in Auckland and usually monthly outing somewhere. It was at one of these events that I met Dwayne. So I was pretty excited when I found out he was coming here to Colombia. I managed to convince him to come visit me in Bogota so it was really great to see him again. He was here for 4 days staying in my apartment and luckily the girls were cool with it all. Did I mention that Mark has moved out and I now live with a Swedish girl and a Colombian girl. I am surrounded by estrogen all the time but all of us get along really well.

It was nice when Dwayne was here because I got to be a tourist again for the first time in a long while and I even got to do some things I have never done before. I took him to Monserrate (the view point above the city) and to particularly touristy places but he seemed to have fun and I did as well. We did visit a few places I had never been before. Luckily the weather held out for us, (For the most part) I enjoyed playing tour guide in my adopted city. Dwayne was the perfect house guest and I am really glad I got to see him after three long years.

The highlight of his visit here was when we made New Zealand meat pies. For those of you who don't know what they are, you should Click Here it had been so long since I had a proper meat pie, I was super super excited! Because they just don't exist here in South America. I fell in love with them when I lived in Oz and NZ and you can't even really find them properly in The States. We found a decent recipe and then went on a quest for the freshest ingredients. Luckily I live very close to a farmers market type place where you can get everything cheap and fresh. The only thing we couldn't find was pre-made pie crust so we had to make our own. We calculated the whole process from start to in our bellies would take two hours. Because you had to prepare the meat and veg and then let it simmer. It actually took us 4.5 hours haha.

We prepared everything according to the recipe we found online and it all worked out great except the crust. It was ok but not perfect. I wish we could have made it better. After 4.5 hours of slaving away we had three meat pies with excellent filling in a mediocre crust. It still tasted almost like Heaven to Dwayne and I after being deprived for so long.  Even Andrea (My Colombian roommate) liked it! Cornelia is a vegetarian so she missed out big time hehe. Next time I make this I am going to do better on the crust and maybe make one large meat pie instead of three little ones. I also could make a stew just purely out of the filling and not even bother with the crust. It was that good!

This was the first time in recent memory I have actually cooked something from scratch (with Dwayne's help of course) and if I get good enough at this I am actually considering selling these meat pies. I know Colombians would love these! So wish me luck lol. Yall take care,Tyler

P.S. Here is a great video for your enjoyment.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Relationships

I usually don't like to talk about relationships because it is a sensitive subject for me but the other day I read something interesting that inspired me to write this post. I read a post from some married woman and the headline title was "My husband is not my soul mate" that was shocking enough to grab my attention. You just usually don't hear married women say or write things like that. She went on to explain that she loved her husband very much and wouldn't want to be married to anyone else but that she could have been equally compatible with a number of other people. It was just a lucky roll of the dice that she married who she did, when she did and their love grew from there. Basically, she didn't believe in love at first sight.

After all the ups and downs I have had (relationship wise) I think I really agree with this. I have had some great relationships,some ok ones, and some terrible ones. All part of the learning process for me. There have been a few girls along my travels where had I stayed in that certain county for longer then I really feel something could have developed. After visiting 20+ countries, I have been exposed to a true mountain of women. All shapes,sizes,colors,races and personalities. I have been very lucky to experience variety. Some of these relationships have been great and had I (or she) made different choices it is possible that we could still be together or even married by now.

I try hard not to regret the past and look upon everything as the next step in the process towards my eventual long term solid relationship. Those of you who know me well, know that I have jumped the gun a few times now and really felt that I found the one and then found out she wasn't the one. When it doesn't work out, it hurts. For a while. Or when I (or she) makes choices that breaks us apart when we have a good thing going, that hurts. For a while. But just like everything else in life, after a while you get over it and move on. I have been able to do that every time in my life except once. There is still one girl from my past that is stuck in my mind and my life like a bad habit I can't get rid of. It is not necessarily a bad thing and she may not be the only girl on this planet that I am truly compatible with, but for whatever reason I still have these strong feelings for her all these years later and she knows exactly who she is. We both made the choices that we did which have set us on separate paths (forever it seems) and I do have a few regrets about that (even though I try not too) but, everything happens for a reason as they say.

I guess what I am trying to say is there is a multitude of women on this planet who are compatible for me, from my past,present and future. All I need to is find her. But I won't try too hard because as soon as you start "trying" really hard is when it doesn't happen. It is also possible that I may never find my soul mate, but regardless of what happens I have (overall) had a really happy,blessed life. I have been very lucky and couldn't ask for much more. Who knows, my future wife may be reading this post right now. Or I may meet her tomorrow.Maybe I already know her. Or maybe I meet her in twenty years. Only time will tell.

Yall take care. Tyler

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Internet saga

Actually getting functioning internet in my apartment here was such a process I am going to devote a whole blog post to this. It was the longest most frustrating process of my life,truly. So I moved into this apartment back in early March with my ex roommate Mark. We were told upfront there was no internet and we would have to sort it out. I thought it wouldn't be a problem and man alive was I ever wrong! I am "legal" here in Colombia, I have a bank account, a work visa,national ID and all the proper things you need for life here. I assumed this was enough to get the process started. But No.

The first company we tried to go with, they told me that they could do it no problem. So I registered it in my name and got the appointment for install all setup and then I waited. and waited. After days of delays they finally showed up and told me they couldn't do it because there was no coverage at my apartment even though at the physical store they said there was! I was so angry for wasting so time for nothing. But, a few days later they called back and said they now had coverage. This time I thought I was being smart though, I got the girlfriend of Mark (who is a Colombiana) to put the internet in her name. Then started this process all over again. More waiting. and waiting. finally I went to their office and asked them why no one has showed up to install my internet. They then informed me she wasn't in a certain Colombian database called Dato Credito so they couldn't do it! I was so mad because again I had wasted so much time!!

Fast forward a few weeks, Even though I was beginning to hate that company I went back to them again, this time with a good friend of mine who WAS in Dato Credito. Thought I covered all my bases this time when we put the internet in her name and waited for install. and waited. They were two days past the date they said they were going to install our internet and I was fearing the worst. Finally they showed up and informed me they had internet coverage on our street but not in our apartment!! At this point I wanted to cry and scream! So we cancelled the service that they never provided and moved onto company number two.

This company promised me that I didn't even have to be in Dato Credito, that they just had to verify two personal references and then they would mail us the wireless modem and we just plug it in. No install required. Well this "verification" process took 8 days and about a million phone calls and internet chats with them back and forth. My new roommate Cornelia even has a new nickname now "Senora Cornelia el chat" because she was chatting with them so much!

Well after 8 days of frustration and waiting we got so tired of it all we called to cancel everything. Man alive was that ever a process! Well you guessed it, the VERY next day (after we cancelled) they mailed us the modem! So we had to call and re-activate our service! What a pain! But then come to find out because the walls of my apartment are completely concrete, the signal was not strong enough! :( So back to square one for us.

At this point after 4.5 months of trying, I am losing hope that we will ever get internet. So we go to company number three. A friend of Cornelia's he had a direct contact in this company. We explained our situation to him and he pushed everything through. But, this company was THREE days late on their install. We were again at the point of cancelling our service (and actually did for a bit) but then we decided to fight it. We went to their office in person and Cornelia gave them a good lecture about all our troubles and FINALLY after three companies and 4.5 months of trying we now have internet.

This is what it is like for a foreigner to get internet in Colombia. All because I was not in a single freaking database that they needed. (But the process to get into that database is actually harder than getting internet) It is easier to get illegal things here than it is to get internet! Never had so many problems in my life. But thank God it is finally over.

Be thankful for the BBB and civilized North American companies who actually still treat you with a shred of respect. Life isn't always easy living in an "emerging economy" and the Colombian people let companies treat them like this. These companies only get away with this behavior because no one complains. (Except for us apparently)

But this whole sage proves the old saying "It isn't what you know, it's who you know".

Now I have two videos for your enjoyment so that entire post was pretty depressing. Just click the links below. -Tyler

Beat Boxing

Bogota sneak peak

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The blog of Random tidbits

Well I believe the last time I blogged I brought all of you back here to Colombia with me. What has happened since then? Frankly not a lot. My life is back to normal really. We are on vacation at work but I am still working with private clients. I have been seeing my friends and going out a little. I went to a BBQ at my friend's place the other weekend. I took my new roommate Cornelia (she is from Sweden). She is a pretty cool girl, we get along well and everything is just peachy so far. What else can I tell you? I went to the largest rock festival in all of South America, Rock Al Parque (Rock the Park) it was a wet rainy mess and it was cold but we did get to see a cool Bosnian Band and a pretty decent Jazz/Blues band from The States. Even after four months I am STILL struggling to get internet in my apartment. I had my Colombian friend sign us up for internet under her name to make things easier and I was really hopeful that would speed up the process and we could finally join the real connected world but alas, on the day they were supposed to arrive to install my internet they didn't. Nor did they call. So I called them and they said they "forgot" and they will be there two days later. So I am extremely frustrated, not very hopeful and still waiting.... This is Colombia so you must have patience.

I have noticed my blogs are getting shorter and shorter. It isn't that I have lost interest in blogging it is just that I don't have anything of interest to say. If you have a suggestion for a blog topic please let me know. -Tyler

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leaving Texas

I know I only wrote one blog entry while I was home in Texas but honestly I didn't have much to write about. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to see all my family and friends and eat Texas food and drink Texas beer. But, all the things I did were very normal and not really blog worthy. I just really had a good two weeks relaxing and just adjusting back to life in America for a short time. I was happy to have Father's Day with my dad (and all my family) back in Texas. I got to go to our new deer lease with my dad. It hasn't even been hunted on yet! Deer season isn't until November but we had a "work day" at the lease and man alive did we work hard! Setting up deer feeders and fences and putting out deer corn and such. It was nice to spend some quality time with my dad though. It has been a while since we have got to do that.

Nothing else really eventful happened besides watching Lucas graduate (congrats Lucas!) and seeing all my family and friends. What got eventful was when I was trying to get back to Bogota. See, I got a cheap flight with Spirit Airlines ( I HATE that airline but they are almost always the cheapest even with all their stupid baggage fees and such) well I had the 6am flight from Dallas to Ft. Lauderdale to Bogota (no direct flight with Spirit) :(

Anyway, I got through the airport security and customs and such without any problems. Then we went to board the plane and once we got all seated, we just sat there, and sat there and sat there. I was getting quite frustrated. It was raining at the time and there was lightning though. Finally the pilot comes on and says we can't do anything because there is lots of lightning. I am a reasonable person so I do understand that delay. Well we waited even longer and then finally the pilot comes on and says "OK now we can start fueling the plane!" well we wait EVEN more and then he comes on again and tells everyone to get off the plane! I was really mad because I had such a tight connection in Ft. Lauderdale I just knew I would miss it!

Of course I was correct. Spirit couldn't re-book me to make to Bogota on the day I planned (meaning I would miss one day of work) but, Spirit put all of us up in a Holiday Inn in Ft. Lauderdale (which they paid for of course) unfortunately this hotel was not even close to anything so we just stayed at the hotel the whole time and used all of our meal vouchers (which was a very small amount). Luckily I got stuck with a great group of people. Back in Dallas two ladies came up to me and they were a bit older and looked kind of scared. They asked me if I spoke Spanish. I said yes I was immediately their translator haha. I really didn't mind it at all though. I know what it is like to be in a country and not speak the language. It can be very intimidating, so I was happy to help. In addtion, I met a really cool Colombian-American couple who was really nice, and their daughter actually lives in Bogota now.

I met a really cool lady named Katie though. She was probably the one I connected with the most. I guess because of the hometown connection. She lives pretty close to my parents back in Texas and she was interested in travel and we even work in same field! We really connected well and she will be one of my friends for years to come, I feel. It was her first time coming to Bogota and she had limited Spanish. I was happy to give her some tips and help her along the way. I am happy to report I just received an email from her and all went well :) Good job Colombia! haha.

Anyway, I am now back for my last week of work (testing and finals) before we take a month off for vacation and then start again in August. I also have a new roommate (Mark had to leave) she is Swedish and super cool so  far. Things are all good here :) Well that's all I have for now. Yall take care,Tyler

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Texas

I have really been slacking on this blog lately! I came back home to Texas to watch my baby brother graduate High School an that I am proud to say that he made it! It was a neat experience for me to watch Lucas (who is ten years younger than me) graduate high school. Sometimes it seems as if I just got out of high school myself. But, he has his whole life ahead of him and a lot of potential. He will go to college now and study to be an ER Nurse (until he changes his mind that is) :P but I told him to take his time and don't rush it. I wish he would travel but that is a very personal decision and travel is not for everyone. As long as he is happy and doing something with his life then I am happy for him.

As for me, I have just been enjoying my time here (it is almost over!) eating and relaxing and seeing friends. Nothing super special to report on my end. But, it has been great to see all my family and friends and spend Father's Day here. I was lucky enough to be to go to the deer lease with my dad and spend some time down there with him. I have actually gained some weight also! All that American food and my mother's cooking :D I will try and take a few pictures before I return to Bogota. See you soon Colombia! Tyler

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Little Survey

I want to propose a little survey purely for my own curiousity so if you are reading this please take just a minute to answer my short few questions in the comment section below this post. Please and Thanks :) I will love you forever haha. -Tyler the Traveling Texan.

1. What country are you from?

2. Your age? (or roundabouts if your shy)

3. Have you ever left your home country?

4. Where would you want to visit if you could visit anywhere?

Ok thats all I have for you! four simple questions :) have at it, thanks again, Tyler

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One week until Texas (For Lucas)

Well my friends, as of today it is just one week until I get to back home and visit my friends and family for two weeks! I am pretty excited about drinking Dr. Pepper and eating some Whataburger and having some good home cooking. I am real happy to see my baby brother graduate High School and see my friends and family again. I cant believe how grown up he is now. Lucas, it seems just like yesterday I was getting out of high school and starting my life (look where I am now!) but, it is your turn now. I truly wish you the best and hope you get everything you need in life. Notice I didn't say everything you WANT. Because sometimes it is better to get what you need and not what you want. Had I gotten what I wanted, I would be an Airforce pilot or in the Army and it is possible I could be very hurt or even dead by now. Luckily for me, I was able to continue my life in another direction and have a super supportive family and friends to help me along the way. I am still figuring out what I want out of my life but, I do know that I love traveling, I love speaking Spanish and I love being able to see new cultures and people. I love seeing things that most people only dream of.

Lucas, if I can give you just one piece of advice that you will remember it is this: Take your time. Don't rush. You have your whole life ahead of you and get out there and see the world. Experience something new and don't settle for the first thing that hits your fancy. Fail at something and then try something new. In the ten years I have on you, I have learned many life lessons but if I had to choose one that would be the most important. Don't forget to tell Mom and Dad how much you love them. Remember that even when you got angry at them they have always wanted only the best for you. We have two of the best parents anyone could ask for.

I meant to write more but I kinda turned this into a message to my brother Lucas. I hope he reads this. I love you bud and happy (almost) graduation. I will see you soon (and everyone else also!) Tyler

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dar Papaya- It happened again.

Well it happened again. I got robbed. This is unfortunately becoming a bad pattern for me. I still love this country and it isn't all bad but the reality is that Gringos are frequently targeted. A few months back I had my wallet stolen. Now I have had my bad (with my laptop and all my work documents in it) stolen. I was out having a few beers with some friends from work and since there was so many people around our table I naively assumed that it wouldn't be stolen when I got up to go to the bathroom. Well I was wrong. It was stolen (and replaced with another empty bag) without anyone seeing anything. The thieves here are really good, you have to give them that.

The only good news is that I still have my money,ID,phone etc. and I wasn't harmed at all. Now that I have been robbed twice here in Colombia I have really learned my lesson. You just can't leave anything laying around. There is a huge gap between people who have money and people who don't. So people here generally steal to survive because there is no government services to help them out if they are out of a job or have very little money. It is quite sad but it is the reality of living in an "emerging economy".

There is a saying here in Colombia, it doesn't translate into English very well but it is Dar Papaya. Dar is the verb to "give" in Spanish and obviously Papaya is a fruit. If you give Papaya it means you do something that gives a thief or thieves a chance to rob you. By getting up and leaving my bag I gave papaya. I don't really like this saying because it gives the thieves an excuse for their behavior and shifts the blame to the victims but everyone who lives here knows this saying.

I still like living here and it is not a bad country even though I have been robbed twice now. I am going home in about two weeks so I will have to buy a replacement computer but luckily most of my stuff was backed up. I will be extra careful with everything from now on. I will still recommend that anyone visit Colombia but just be extra careful with your things and don't go around flashing expensive stuff. It isn't the fault of the country it is the income divide and I guess partly cultural. But, that being said, you can be robbed anywhere at anytime so this is not unique to Colombia.

See you soon Texas,Tyler

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dia de Madre

Well this past Sunday was Dia de Madre or Mother's Day here in Colombia and in the good ol USA as well I guess. Unfortunately for me I was not able to be with my dear mother on her day this year but she knows that as always I am there in spirit. Luckily though, I was able to have a mother for a day. I went with a friend of mine to her family's house in a town outside of Bogota called Cota. It is a really small nice town away from the traffic and noise of Bogota and the weather was great so it was a really nice break after my trip to Lake Guatavita (see my facebook pictures) and I was lucky to have two real nice small holidays in a row. Marcela's family was really super nice to meet (as are almost all Colombians!) of course, because this was a Colombian family event there was about 1000 people there and lots and lots of food and beer. Just my style :) Everyone was really friendly to me and very curious about me and how I was liking Colombia. Luckily now my Spanish is decent enough that I can hold a conversation with just about anyone on just about any subject even though I am still far from perfect, I can be understood and understand.

Monday was a day off here since Sunday was Mother's Day. ( I love all the holiday breaks in this country!) so all I did was rest and relax. But, it is now Tuesday and I am back at work. I have a big presentation on "Accents from Texas and around the world" for a big group of important people here at work tomorrow. I am slightly nervous but excited as well and I am almost done preparing my powerpoint presentation as I write this to you. Things are going really well at work and I like my new job a lot. Things are still good on the apartment front and I really don't have much to complain about at all right now. I am a pretty lucky guy. Well that's all I got.

See you June 4th, Texas friends/family! :) -Tyler

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

My Weekend Away

Well hello there! Long time no write. I know I have gotten pretty bad at keeping this blog up to date but, I do have a few good (or at least I think good) reasons. Most importantly I don't have internet at my house. Just here at work so obviously I can't update my blog all the time. Secondly, I have a pretty "normal" life now. I go to work everyday and come home everyday just like you do. Only I do it in a foreign country and speak a language that isn't English. I seriously doubt that many people still follow this blog but I know my family and some friends still follow this blog. I can single out a beautiful Belgian friend of mine who shall remain nameless but she is one of my most loyal readers and for that I really am thankful. Ok, enough excuses onto my blog post.

My awesome new-ish boss Ruben has some property outside of Bogota in a city that is actually hot and (usually) dry with very little rain. He invited all of us teachers out there for the weekend to relax and escape Bogota for a while. Of course we all accepted! So off we went. We left Bogota on Saturday morning and after about a three hour drive we arrived in the city where Ruben's weekend house was. This was a very small city that was quiet with not much going on, very typically Colombian. Of course coming from the craziness and bad weather of Bogota it was very very refreshing to me and the other teachers who had come along. We were all very thankful for Ruben's generous offer of letting us stay there for the weekend.

I really don't have much to tell you except that a lot of beer was drank, a lot of swimming was done, a bit of hiking and I have returned to Bogota with a sunburn. Not a HORRIBLE sunburn to bad enough to feel it. This is of course the first time in months and months I have been able to wear shorts and even have the chance to get a sunburn so I didn't mind too much. We hiked up to some quite disappointing waterfalls,got to ride horses,use paddle boats and stuff our faces with great food until we almost exploded. In addition to this we got to play a tradition Colombian game called Tejo which I am really horrible at. It involves a lot of beer and explosives. The object of the game is to throw basically big rocks at small explosive charges buried in clay opposite of you. It is fun but difficult even when sober. Of course it is always a good time even when you are terrible, some Colombians are quite good but us Gringos were not. Indoor Tejo with many people can be quite dangerous but luckily we were outside on a small field and no danger to anyone.

The ride home was on a nice big bus (with AC!) and it only cost 10,000 pesos or $5 USD! I figured it would have taken three hours at the very least but this guy drove like a speed demon and we got back home after three days of blissful relaxation in only two hours. Of course we came home to cold and rain so that was no fun but it's life huh? I am now back at work and doing my "normal" stuff, but it sure was nice for a little break and I really like my job so it doesn't feel like work when I come here. I may hate the weather and traffic of Bogota but I am happy with almost everything else. Unfortunately I don't have too much else to report. I really hope if you are reading this everything is well in your world and I will try to keep up with this blog more like old times. -Tyler

P.S.: Texas people, I will be home June 4th for two weeks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

My first year in Colombia ( I survived!) :)

Well today is the one year anniversary of my time here in Colombia and I have at least one more year to go. My how the time has gone fast! I can't believe I was landing here in Bogota a year ago already. So much has happened since then. I certainly have had my ups and my down's but, overall a really good time. At this moment the only thing I can complain about is the traffic and the rain ;) I have learned A LOT of Spanish in one year but I am far from perfect and need to practice hard if I want to continue towards my goal of being a translator/interpreter. Of course by now, I can generally get everything I need on a daily basis without any problems and I can even hold long semi complicated conversations totally in Spanish. There is many word's I don't know but I do know how to get my point across even if I say it wrong or don't know the correct words.  As I said in my earlier Facebook status, I have not been harmed in any way (other than having my wallet pick pocketed which could happen anywhere) I have not been forced into the drug trade,sold into sexual slavery,kidnapped,held hostage or any of the other crazy things the American Media typically says about Colombia. I honestly enjoy my life here and want to stay here until I learn Spanish fluently.

Of course this is not a perfect country and there is many things that are not good and things that frustrate me but, nowhere is perfect, certainly not America at the moment. Even if I am not living in America I am still a proud American. People are nice and friendly here and overall I have had a very positive experience here and would recommend Colombia to any travelers. Do not expect it to be like your home country though, Colombia is completely different than anywhere else in the world and it is still an "emerging economy" so you will find that some things are not yet up to "first world" standards. If this is a problem for you then you might have a little bit of a rough time but, if you are capable of handle new challenges and realizing that just because something is different than your home doesn't make it bad then Colombia is for you!

I look forward to what the next year has in store for me! Yours,Tyler