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Friday, February 14, 2020

My Experience in China

Well my time in China has finally come to an end. Now that I am out of China I can finally give you my thoughts about the experience. I will be sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of China. For those of you in the Western world, particularly in my home country of the United States (and those of you who have never been to China) you may hold an overly negative view of China based on what you have seen in the news media. So, some of what I write here I hope will pleasantly surprise you and some of the bad things may shock you. It is my hope that after reading this you can come away with a more realistic view of Mainland China and get rid of some of those old stereotypes.

I will start with the good things: First and Foremost (in my mind anyway) their cashless payment system which is accepted everywhere. I realize this might not hold a big appeal for some people (my dad comes to mind!) but for me, being free of cash, coins and cards was incredibly liberating! I think I miss that more than anything. Here is how it works: You register your fingerprint to your cellphone (so that only you can unlock your phone with your fingerprint) then, they have a chat/messaging service very similar to Whatsapp (it is called Wechat) and within Wechat there is a payment service which is linked to your bank account (you also have to register your fingerprint to unlock your virtual Wechat Wallet that is inside the Wechat program)

So the end result is, if you want to pay for anything or pay to anyone, send or receive money you can do so virtually with your phone. No need to carry cash, cards or coins ever! If for any reason someone was to steal your phone they could not unlock your phone without your fingerprint (even if they could unlock your phone somehow, they would still need the secondary fingerprint to get into your Wechat Wallet). In my mind there are only three downsides to this virtual payment system. 1. The Chinese government is in control of the payment system (so they could theoretically lock you out of your own money if they chose to do so) however, in China government control is a fact of life. They control everything, so once you accept that fact it isn´t such a big deal anymore. I never had any problems with it. 2. If the Wechat payment system is down you cannot pay for anything or receive any money from anyone (which is why I always carried a little emergency cash on me) but in 18 months the system was only down for a short period of time, twice. 3. This virtual payment system locks out anyone who doesn't have a smart phone or bank account. Those are really the only three downsides in my mind.

The next positive thing about China is, as hard as the U.S. media (and Trump in particular) try to get China to hate us Americans, in my experience in generally almost all regular Chinese citizens still hold America in high regard. I met some extremely nice, extremely friendly, extremely kind, loving and wonderful people in China. I never did learn how to speak Chinese (beyond a few basic words) and many Chinese do not speak English but in my 18 months there I had nothing but great interactions with people. They were eager to learn about me and the United States in general. They always tried to help me whenever and wherever they could. Chinese parents love their kids just like parents in the Western world love their kids. They want the same things we want (generally speaking) really other than being separated by a vast distance, a different language and a different culture, humans around the world almost always share the same basic traits that make us human no matter where you live. The Chinese are not monsters out to get us.

I enjoyed my job in China. Working in Asia (and China in particular) is very different from the Western world. However, the students are extremely studious and hard working, they are respectful and do as they are told. Too well sometimes. Critical thinking and having unique open minded opinions is not a trait that is at all valued in China unfortunately. They strive for excellence and they all want and need to be excellent. Conformity and not looking bad or failing in front of others is something that is extremely important in Chinese culture. It was a big shock for me at first, walking into the classroom and getting absolute silence when I asked a question. However, I quickly learned to adapt (more on this later)

Something else that was really good in China (at least in Shenzhen where we were living) was the public transportation (it is one if not the only city in the world that has a full fleet of all electric city buses,taxis and trains) it was cheap, clean and efficient. In addition to the excellent transportation, Shenzhen (and China in general) is very safe. I want to clarify what I mean when I say safe, I mean the chances of getting robbed on the street and having your personal belongings stolen is practically 0%. After living almost 8 years in Colombia and constantly having to be on guard for someone trying to rip me off, this was a welcome change. In China you will see relatively few armed uniformed police officers on the streets. However, there are facial recognition cameras everywhere (Big Brother!) so I can promise you that the Chinese government knows almost exactly where each of its 1.4 billion citizens are and what they are doing. It may seem intrusive and extreme to us, but for them it is a way of life.

China has has a relatively low cost of living. It is not expensive to live there and live well if you have a good job. Rent costs and imported foods can be astronomically high, but pretty much everything else is very cheap. Eating ¨Western food¨ is not cheap so its best to eat like the locals if you want to save money.

Chinese people in general, (and Chinese kids especially) are very curious about us Westerners. They are extremely shy, but once they warm up to you they will ask you may many questions (some of them very strange) because they just have no baseline knowledge outside of what the Communist Party of China allows them to see/learn. Information that you or I take for granted, just what you would assume to be basic knowledge, to the could be something completely new.

Traveling in China is cheap and easy. There are many beautiful places to visit and China has a ton of history and culture that is very different and interesting from our history in the Western world. The bullet trains and public transportation in general is very good and not expensive. In general, it is clean and fast even if there are 1.4 billion people in China. The crowds are not something that I enjoyed but there are many positives in China and not everything is negative.

Now I will move on to the negatives of working and living in China. First and foremost, the Communist Party runs and controls the Chinese Government and the Chinese people in general. What this means in practice, is that the government controls exactly what the regular Chinese people can and cannot see, do and know. Knowledge is restricted to what is government approved. This means that the ¨regular¨open Internet does not exist in China. Of course there are ways to access it if you know how but it is not easy nor does it always work.
The average Chinese person really has no concept of what the average person in the Western world understands as ¨freedoms¨. Since they have never experienced these basic freedoms they do not know what they are missing. As foreigners, there are many things that we miss when we go to China and live and work but the Chinese have their own versions of everything that we have, so they have no need for our version of various things. Any form of dissent or protest is also strictly banned by the government so you will never see or hear of people congregating in groups to do something that is against the will of the Chinese government.

Another negative of living in China is that there air quality, food safety and various other things are not up to Western standards. That being said, China is making strides to improve the environment, air quality, food safety etc. Many countries (the United States included) are currently doing much less than the Chinese are to combat global warming etc. (hopefully this will change in the future)

The language and culture barriers are something else that can be hard to deal with. Of course this is to be expected, but it certainly is not the easiest thing to deal with. I cannot imagine living in China prior to the existence of the internet. Without technology like translators and such would be almost impossible I think. The cultural barrier is another story all together. Our Western culture is just very different from Chinese culture. Our governments and social structures are very different.

One of the last negatives that I can think of is the food culture. Chinese food in China is very different from anything we eat in the Western world and Chinese food is very different inside than China than it is inside China. They love to eat spicy food, meat with lots of bones and fat and of course the Chinese use chopsticks which can be hard to get used to if you live in the Western world. Almost all Chinese food in China is based on rice or noodles. So this can quickly get old eating these base foods everyday. Chinese also love to buy live animals and kill them to eat them. This not only is unsanitary but also creates the risk of human to animal (and vis versa) disease transmission. This was a big worry of mine while we were in China. There actually was a disease outbreak while we were there but luckily I managed to leave China without getting sick or stuck in China.

To wrap this all up, I basically just want to say that China just like anywhere has its good sides and its bad sides and don´t let your negative stereotypes of China prevent you from visiting there sometime in the future. The Chinese government is not great as we all know, but the average Chinese citizen is very nice and helpful and very similar to you in more ways than you might imagine. I enjoyed my time there and I am glad I had the opportunity to live and work there. Now we will see what Spain has to offer Jenny and I and where our lives will go into the future. 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Chinese Food Culture

Hey dear readers, my apologies for missing my weekly update last week. Life gets in the way sometimes! Well today I want to show you what real Chinese food looks like. It is actually quite different from the ¨Chinese¨ food we have back home! I always assumed our Chinese food was pretty authentic but, I was wrong. The Chinese food in the US has most certainly been tailored to American taste buds. I have not seen a single fortune cookie here haha

Some of this is ¨Western food¨ mixed in with the Chinese food. I will try to get a photo of some noodle and dumplings. Those are very common here! But so far what I have noticed about Chinese food in general is, 98% of the meat is ¨bone in¨ even though they eat everything with chopsticks.... talk about frustrating! The food in general is pretty spicy, and the meat is also pretty fatty ( for flavor I guess) really I wouldn´t say the food is bad here, its just different. Not what we are used to.

They have a lot of things with sauces and creams in the middle, a lot of spicy or sweet and sour flavos. They eat a lot of rice here and lots of green veggies. They love to eat fried food and food with a lot of oils and stuff. I really am quite amazed that they are as skinny as they are here with all the fried food that they eat.

China also has Walmart. Different foods of course but, same company 

Good ol Yellowtail :)

Toys R US may be finished in The US but not in China! 

Charming Grilled Fish is always charming haha

Found a store getting into the Christmas spirit. ¨Christ Merry Mas¨ lol

China also has convenience store food just like we do! But it may not be exactly what you are used to....

Chicken in a bag

Well thats all that I have for yall this time. If you have any ideas for topics you are curious about here in China just let me know and I will be happy to explore it for you! take care, Ty

Saturday, December 08, 2018

University Life

Considering that I am now working/living at Sustech (Southern University of Science and Technology) here in Shenzhen, I thought yall might want to know a little more about university life and the student body here.

Main gate of my university

The university is very modern and big. It has a lot of greenery and all there are many different clubs and activities for the students and the teachers. All the vehicles around campus are electric so its nice to feel like there is less pollution around. We even have our very own robot! The technology really is amazing here in China.

me greeting our campus robot literally minutes after we first arrived to the campus on our first day!

Now I will show you some general photos of the campus so you can get an idea of what it looks like here. 

There is also a medical center, sports center, restaurants to eat at, stores, shops etc. We even have a kindergarden and nursing home here! It is like a small town here on this campus. If you chose to, you could stay here and never even leave the campus and have everything that you need. When we get packages delivered, they send a text message to our cell phones and we go to these automated lock boxes, punch in the code and bam! we have our packages. Easy peasy. 

As far as my students go, they are all very good students. Quiet and reserved, typical Asian students. I am used to a loud dynamic interactive classroom with constant speaking and noise so it was an adjustment at first for me coming here and realizing that getting them to speak out was like pulling teeth! But, as long as you approach it the right way ( a lot of group and pair work!) then you can get them talking. In one of my classes we even have a class mascot. 
Our class mascot :)

 Their worldview is completely opposite from our maps
China is truly massive! I think there are 34 providences

Sorry for my finger in the photo haha. You can buy books out of a vending machine! 

So, overall opinion working/living here has been good so far. It is very different work wise and living style but not bad. We are still adjusting but happy. The campus is very modern (founded in 2011) and everyone is super nice. I have good students and my coworkers are nice also. I certainly do miss Colombia but things aren´t bad here. 

See yall next Sunday, Tyler

Sunday, December 02, 2018

We made it to China!

Well just as I promised, I am finally starting my blog once again after a two year hiatus! This time with a new and improved layout and more photos. Hope you like it. So I guess I should start at the beginning....

I got offered a job in China back in June and Jenny and I decided to make the move to China! I love Colombia and really enjoyed my (almost 7 years) there. I am already missing it and missing the ability to communicate, since we don´t speak Chinese!
This is all of our life in suitcases

Once we arrived and got settled I had some time before I started working so Jenny and I decided to explore the city for a bit. Shenzhen is huge! 23 million people in one city! 

Many more pictures to come! 

At the moment Jenny and I are living on the campus of my university ( I will post pictures of that in another blog post) things are going well for us so far but it isn´t always super easy to get what you need when you don´t speak the language. Thank god for Google Translate! I can´t imagine coming to China 20 or 30 years ago before the Internet and easy access to these translators. It has been an adjustment to get used to the food here. Almost everything is spicy, full of some weird cream or sauce or full of bones. It makes it harder trying to eat all this with only chopsticks!

Everyone has been super nice though and very helpful with everything. We have managed to use the Chinese version of Uber without knowing how to speak Chinese and they have an excellent metro and bus system here. One of the things I like the most is that you can connect your phone to your bank account and pay for everything with a click of a button on your phone. I have not made a single cash transaction in almost a month. Here in China there is an app called Wechat it is one app that can do everything. I do mean everything all inside this one app. 

I can pay rent, pay bills,buy movie/train/bus tickets, book a hotel, book a trip, order food, pay for anything, send money to someone, receive money, download things, make calls,video calls, record audio,order an Uber, locate myself on a map and much much more all inside Wechat without ever leaving the app!

I will end this blog with a few pictures from our trip to the Shenzhen Zoo ( many more to come)

 That bird is one of the most dangerous animals in all of Australia, I was very surprised that they let us get that close. It may not look so dangerous but even with the cage, they have been known to kill full grown adults!

Our lazy panda photo haha.

Well thats all for now. I promise I will try to be better about updating this more frequently with lots and lots of more photos. I hope you enjoyed this little update, I have lots more coming! 

Take care, Tyler

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Semana Santa

Hi there, its been quite a while since I have written anything but I wanted to tell you about our trip to Medellin (a city about 9 hours driving time from Bogotá) Jenny and I decided to take advantage of her benefit tickets with Avianca (the airline she works for) and fly to Medellin for Semana Santa (Holy Week) unlike my American friends/family we here in Colombia get basically 7 to 10 days off of work for Easter, generally.

So we booked a hotel online from here in Bogotá. It looked nice but once we arrived, it was in a terrible area and a total dump! We didn´t even have a mirror or a toilet seat! So after one day of staying in that hell hole we left. We found a much better place to stay albeit much more expensive :( But, we were able to meet up with a coworker of mine and his wife in Medellin. They happened to be visiting at the exact same time as us.

We all went to a natural science museum and it was actually really cool. Then Jenny and I had a great dinner. We ate at this Italian pizza place and it was real pizza! Super super good! Not like  the usual bad pizza you get here in Colombia. The chef was true Italian. Medellin is so much cleaner and more organized than here in Bogotá. They have a metro train system and a cable car system to transport you all around the city and up into the mountains. They even have giant escalators to transport you directly up the mountain! It is super cool!

We also went on a tour around and outside of Medellin. We took a boat ride on a cool lake and we saw a giant rock that they have built stairs into and turned into a tourist attraction. The guy who owns the land must be super rich because there seemed to be about 10000 people there and they charged about 8 dollars just so climb up that rock! For that reason, and for the crowds we decided not to summit the rock but we still had a great view and a great time. We also visited a typical traditional little town which was neat to see.

The only mistake that was made we Jenny begged me to plan something for our trip. Something set in stone. Well those of you who know me, know that I am not a big planner. Never have been and most likely never will be. So I decided to plan nothing to prove to her that we could have a good time without planning anything. My plan to not plan, was to go to the tourist information office and ask them some questions and plan on the spot. Well what I didn´t realize was, because of the holidays they were closed!

So my plan to not plan, failed! I had to eat some big crow on that one! But we still had a good time none the less. I really really enjoyed Medellin and would love to return!

Yall take care,Tyler

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Almost Vday (in The States anyway)

It is well into February now, we are almost at Valentines Day (In The States) Jenny and I have been busy bees since her family left. I got moved into her apartment and out of my old one. This one is in a much nicer area but it is further away from the central part of the city. I am back at work now, slowly but surely. Classes are starting now. Trickling in, but I am working. We are still preparing for the wedding in August and our trip to Spain in July. I have started a Spanish class online and also started watching a series that I highly highly recommend. It is called Making a Murderer. I have been sucked into the vortex haha. I wont tell you anything because I don't want to give it away.

I wish I had more to tell you but right now this is all I can think of. Yall take care,Tyler

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Now its 2016!

Now that it is 2016 I figured it was time to give you an update. Back in December before Christmas, I took Jenny to Texas for the first time! My cousin was getting married a day after we arrived and I  was an usher in her wedding. I was slightly worried about us getting there on time because Jenny works for Avianca, the Colombian international airline, so we get cheaper benefit tickets but we have to fly standby. Luckily everything worked out though. It was great for her to get to meet almost all of my dad's side of the family. We had a really good time at the wedding and my cousin married a guy of Mexican heritage so her and I are the first ones to bring Latin blood into our family haha.

She was nervous about her level of English but she did great! All of my family loved her and we had a great time. I took her to Austin and we stayed at my uncle's house and toured around Austin. After that, I took her to San Antonio and to The Alamo and all the touristy stuff in San Antonio. Back closer to home, I took her to Denton and The Square, then we went to Downtown Dallas and The Kennedy Museum. I also took her up in The Ball (reunion tower) in Dallas and we got to hang out with my best friend Matt. I showed her around Frisco and Little Elm and The Colony as well. Jenny only had 10 days before she had to go back to work and it went all too fast.

After she left, I stayed another 10 days or so and celebrated Christmas with my family. Then I headed back to Colombia on the 25th. When I arrived back in Colombia, Jenny's family was already there. She lives here in Bogota with her brother but, her parents and sister live in Spain. So her parents and sister were here in Bogota. Also her brothers fiancee is here in Bogota. I have had a really good time visiting with them so far. We went to a city about 6 or 8 hours from Bogota and it was close to the desert. It was really neat going to see the desert. It wasn't like desert with sand dunes but more just kinda barren rocky terrain. After leaving the desert we went to a water park and that was fun.

I am still not working at the moment but I am staying busy searching for our next apartment. my contract is up 1 march so Jenny and I need to find an apartment quick! I will start back at work at the end of this month. Jenny's sister and father have now gone back to Spain but her mother and her brothers girlfriend are still here. Jenny is of course busy with wedding planning and working so we are all staying busy! I am helping out with the planning where she needs me but she is doing the lions share of the work really. We have the invites,my tux,her dress and things are moving along smoothly, getting ready for that august date!

So I guess that is it for now. Yall take care,Ty

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Texas here we come!

So, I am coming home for my yearly visit soon! I will be home from the 4th until the 25th of December. This time it will be a little different though, because I have my soon to be wife with me :) Jenny is coming along for her first time in Texas. So I am hoping to show her a good time and have her experience everything Texas has to offer. I hope that everything goes well. I know she is a little nervous about her English and meeting my family but I am confident she will do great!

Anyway, just wanted to give yall the heads up. See you soon!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The state of the world today and various other things

So I am quite sure all of you have heard about the recent attacks in Paris,Mali etc. I gotta say, the state of the world really is starting to worry me. I am almost 31 years old but I just don't remember growing up with this stuff. I remember the 90's fondly and it seemed like such a better time to be living. I don't know what has happened to our world but everything seems to be going down the tubes recently. I worry for my family and friends around the world and hope that everyone stays safe! I hope this world calms down soon. I don't want to raise my future family in a crazy world. I want my kids to have a great childhood like I did.

On a happier note, Jenny and I and her brother saw the new James Bond film Spectre. It wasn't the best James Bond I have ever seen but it wasn't the worst either. Other than that, I am busy with my last weeks of work and getting ready to go to Texas with Jenny to visit my family and friends. Jenny and I are deep in wedding planning as well (ok mostly her haha) but that is coming along well. Really other than that, I am just living life and pretty happy :) wish I had more to tell you but that is about it for now. Things here in Colombia are going along swimmingly and nothing crazy as of now. Hopefully it stays that way.

Yall take care,Tyler

Sunday, November 08, 2015

At the suggestion of a friend

I was talking to Ben the other day, my traveling buddy and one of my best friends. He suggested that I write this blog because we were both saying how we feel this way but I am better at expressing my emotions in written form than he is. I can safely say that I speak for both him and I though.  Most of you who are not travelers most likely will not be able to understand or relate to this, that is ok. I do not fault you in the least. But, those of you who are travelers may understand our feelings perfectly. I am writing this in the hopes that maybe I can help a fellow traveler who is feeling the same emotions.

Ben and I traveled the world together for 2 years. Between 2009 and 2011. I can say (and I think I speak for him as well) that our travels were some of the best times in our lives.  We were both working and living "normal"life but we were so free. It is really indescribable if you haven't lived through a similar experience. We was so happy and so free. Doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted free to travel and see the world and explore and take advantage of  every opportunity offered to us.

In a way, both of us are living in the past. Because we both compare our current life experiences to the experiences we had four years ago. Our barometer for happiness has become the happiness we felt four years ago. We are constantly trying to reach the point that we felt 4 years ago. We constantly talk with each other (and others) about experiences we had 4 years ago but the only people who care are us. It isn't always good to live in the past, but it is also hard to move on when your barometer for happiness is stuck in the past.

Both of us aren't kids anymore. I am 30 and he is 28. Eventually you have to get your life together and figure out what you are going to do for the future. You can travel for your whole life if you want, but you will most likely end up a lonely old man with no one and nothing. That is not what I wants nor does he. We have such great memories of our travels and it isn't like we can NEVER travel again but now I think our travels just have to change.

I don't want to suggest that I am completely unhappy with my life. That is so far from the truth. I am in love and getting married! Jenny is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn't change or give up our relationship for anything in the world. I am happy with my life. I guess I am just not happy with routine. Once you break out of the box its hard to go back in again. For the most part I just live my life, go to work,see Jenny and do normal stuff. I mean that is life. I may live in Colombia and many of you thing I live this exotic and amazing life but in reality I do the same things as you, just in a different country. Really the only time my old emotions come flooding back is when I see a video about someone dropping everything in their life and going to travel the world. Once a traveler always a traveler I guess.

More than anything I want a life with Jenny. I want to be married and be with my wife and enjoy married life. I am very excited for that! But I still have that free as a bird spirit. It is hard sometimes to be torn in the middle. The solution I think is to have a conventional life that makes you happy while still trying to do unconventional things to keep it interesting. I just don't want to die and say wow I was so boring and I never did anything, I don't want to grow boring. I want to be exciting and have an exciting life! Luckily now I have Jenny to join me on adventures and I know now that I won't be alone she will always be by my side to support me and I will always be there to support her.

I know that this might not make much sense to some of you but I wrote it to express myself and maybe someone else is feeling the same. Maybe I will help a fellow traveler to know that they are not alone. I just want to reiterate that I am not unhappy with my current life, quite the opposite! I am very excited for my future! Maybe what I need to do is just reset my barometer for happiness. But I welcome your advice/suggestions. 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My anniversary

Today is my one year anniversary with Jenny. It has been a great year! Of course we have had some ups and downs but I wouldn't change any of it. In 299 days we will be married! She is truly my better half. I love her for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is that she always tries to put me first and I always try to put her first. Our relationship is a partnership in love. I am very excited to spend the rest of my life with her. Even when we get annoyed with each other we still love each other and I wouldn't want to be marrying anyone else. We are going to do something fun this weekend for our anniversary so I will keep yall posted. -Tyler

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Future and My Promise

As most of you know by now, I am studying to be a Spanish/English translator. Ever since I moved to Colombia I have been interested in Spanish. I love the language and I love learning. Shortly after moving here I decided I wanted to bank my future on this. English teaching is a skill that I have, something that I feel that I am good at and I enjoy it. But, I want this to be a stepping stone to translating. Being a translator is my end goal. Translation is how I want to provide for my (almost) wife and our (future) family. There is a chance I could fall flat on my face and this could not work out for me. It is my goal to try though. to give this a shot. Everyone needs to have goals in life and to take risks and try new things.

You know, I took a risk when I was 24 and I moved across the globe to Australia and it was hard and scary at first but I have survived and I haven't looked back since. But, I am writing this to yall (and myself) because I want and need to make a promise right now.

Learning a new language is easier for certain people and harder for others. As for me personally, this has not been easy to learn Spanish but I have been trying. I have been studying. I have learned quite a bit but I do have a long way to go until I am at a level where I can actually be a full time certified translator. I do study on my own (Duolingo and such) but there is more I can do.

I am writing you this because there is more I can do and more I need  to do. I have been taking classes but it isn't enough. I have this goal but I need to get hungrier. I want this but I need to want it more. I need to get to my goal faster. I saw a YouTube video recently and the guy said you are the sum of what you spend most of your free time on. I work two jobs. I work hard and I work a lot. I teach English so most of my time is spent speaking English. It is ironic that I live in a country where Spanish is the official language and I have to try hard to speak it with anyone other than Jenny.

You know how I spend most of my free time? I am usually really tired when I get home so I love doing things that are "no brainers" to relax. Like reading the news,watching YouTube videos,movies,series etc. It helps me unwind. It is enjoyable to me. But you know what else? It doesn't get me any closer to my goal and my dream. I am working hard to my goal of being a translator but I can work harder and I need to work harder. I need to stop spending my free time with my brain off and I need to start working hard in Spanish to get to my goal faster.

This is my promise to myself and to yall. Tyler

Monday, August 17, 2015

I am engaged!

I am engaged :)  So Jenny and I went to a town in Colombia named Yopal. The town itself was not super incredible but, the hotel we stayed at was very very nice and we had a great free breakfast! So, after exploring the town (even though it did rain) and watching some movies.

Then Sunday night, I took her up to a view point above the city and asked her to marry me and she said yes! Our wedding we will be sometime in Aug. 2016 here in Colombia. We are both very happy! I do hope that all my family and friends can attend :D

Monday, August 03, 2015

August Update

Well I meant to blog back in July but I didn't so here is my blog update for July and the first part of August. So what happened back in July? Well we had the 4th of July of course.... Jenny and I celebrated with some of my American friends here. We had a pretty good time. Then came the 20th of July which is Colombian independence day. Jenny and I spent the time relaxing and enjoying our time off.

My I had a coworker and my boss have their birthdays back in July so we celebrated all that together. I am still working at Sergio Arboleda and now I am officially in a group Spanish class that runs from Monday to Friday. Previously, I was taking personalized classes but now it is a different dynamic in my class but there is 7 other people in my class and I like my teacher.

We have 2 holidays in August. Jenny and I will be traveling for one of them. We are going to a city 8 hours away from Bogota and hopefully enjoy ourselves! Jenny and I will be going to Texas in December so we are getting prepped for that trip. This Weds. we are going to see the new Mission Impossible movie, hopefully it will be good.

Really I guess that is it. Yall have a good one. Tyler

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June Holidays

June is the month in Colombia where we have the most holidays. Out of the four weeks in June, we have 3 long weekends. Which is pretty great haha. In the beginning of June, Jenny and I and some friends went to my annual tomato festival here. This was Jenny's first time to go and she does not like to get dirty (and this year there was more mud than tomatoes) but I think that she did enjoy it and I know that myself and my friends did. But, it was pretty wet and dirty and cold but fun! We had some good fun and next year is the 10th anniversary.

Since then, Jenny and I have been relaxing and having a good time on the long weekends. I have also been able to see my friends from work and last weekend we went to a finca (the Spanish word for farm) and we had a long weekend of relaxing in a city about 3 hours outside of Bogota, called La Vega and had some great food (courtesy of my boss Daniel) and lots of relaxing. I did get a little sunburn but nothing life ending. So now I am back to normal and working and going thru the hoops with the immigration and visa office yet again but, gotta do what I gotta to stay legal here.

So whats next for me? Well its almost July here and July 20th is independence day here in Colombia.  I am sure Jenny and I (and possibly some friends) will be doing something. I am also hoping going to be celebrating the 4th, here in Colombia. But, before any of that happens we have one last long weekend to enjoy. Until then I will be working and doing the usual. I don't have any big plans as of right now but, hopefully Jenny and I will both be going home in December to Texas to visit all the family and friends. If anything else amazing happens I will be sure to blog about it haha. Oh, I did see the new Jurassic Park movie. It was a pretty good reboot!

Yall take care,Tyler

Thursday, May 14, 2015

State of Tyler Address

So it has been a while since I have really wrote anything in detail and I figure I would model this after the State of The Union Address and really let you know what is going on with my life. So I will start from the top. Some of it may be repeat but oh well!

I have been here in Colombia now for over 3 years. I can't hardly believe it! the longest amount of time I have been anywhere since I left Texas! Colombia really annoys me sometimes. It is expensive to stay here, there is a lot of corruption,the public transportation and traffic in Bogota are horrible, the weather in Bogota is generally not great. Even after 3 years I still get ripped off just because I am a gringo. True stability in life here is hard to come by. The government and infrastructure are super frustrating (usually). EVERYTHING is a process here and takes many steps and lots of time, nothing seems to change.....

Yet, despite all of that I still really am happy here. Completely happy? no way! But happy yes! I don't think there is anywhere in the world where you will be completely happy all the time. Almost everyone in Colombia are decent,kind,caring and loving people. Colombia is one of the best countries to learn Spanish due to their accent (minus the coast of Colombia lol) Colombia has many many many beautiful places to visit. Most people are genuinely happy to have foreigners here (even if the government makes it expensive and hard to stay here legally)

The food is good,outside of Bogota the weather is generally pretty awesome. The landscape is beautiful. I love the fact that Colombia is up and coming. It is still a bit like the wild west here, not totally overrun by tourists yet. But, at the same time I have enough modern conveniences to stay happy and content. I am a minimalist though, I don't need a whole ton. Not everyone could live here in Colombia with the way the crumbling infrastructure is now.

I have a great job, a great group of friends. A good support network here. I have a roof over my head (although in a loud neighborhood haha) I have food in my stomach. There are things that I want but not really too many things that I NEED. Of course, I could never forget the wonderful,amazing,beautiful,supportive girlfriend that I have. I am a very lucky man.

You know I was searching and searching for "the one" for a long time (thought I found her a few times already lol) but now, with Jenny, I wasn't really looking. We kinda just fell into each other and starting making it work. At first my relationship with her was effort. A lot of it, like with any good relationship but once you put in the hard work of figuring each other out and if you can work together after that it isn't much effort at all. You just work. For years I wondered how will I know when I have found a girl that I truly love?

Now I think I know. When you have found a person where being with them isn't a constant struggle to stay happy, being with them is a pleasure and something you want to do. Where even when that person annoys the shit out of you, your first reaction isn't to break up but to figure out how to work it out. Where you react with love instead of anger and hatred. That person brings out the best in you and you in them. You care more about their own happiness than your own. You do things to surprise them and make them happy not to get a pat on the back but because you truly want to see them surprised and happy. When you have someone that is like you but also different. When you can agree to disagree. When you are thinking about them all the time. I think this is love, and I think I have this with Jenny. So I truly am happy and hope to stay that way:)

You know, I have been to 20+ countries in my life, I have been traveling on and off ever since I can remember, both internationally and back home in the States even as a young child with my aunt and uncle down in Houston Texas. I got laid off from my job at 24 years old back in 2009. I had done some fairly extensive traveling prior to that but, at that time I decided to make it my career/lifestyle.  So I moved to Australia,then New Zealand then Thailand and now here. That was 6 years ago. I am still doing what I love just now slightly different. Back in Australia and New Zealand I was doing more or less constant work and travel.  Free as a bird, rarely working in the same place for more than a few months. It was hard at times but I loved it!

Fast forward 3 years to here in Colombia, and for the past 3 years I have been more or less settled here. I still do travel, just in a different way. More domestically here in Colombia and less international. My goals have changed also. I am thinking more along the lines of a career path, since I love Spanish I decided to go the translator route. So I am learning and working towards my goal. If you asked me if I miss the freedom of the lifestyle I had previously, I would say sometimes yes. But, I also love the life I have here and now. I am very lucky and happy. My life may have changed but not in a bad way. Will I ever return to The States full time? that I don't know. I am not ready to answer that question just yet. I won't say yes and I won't say no.

You know when I was a kid my dad used to tell me a bedtime story every night. They were usually from his childhood. I loved those stories! When I got slightly older, I was terrified I would have a boring life and die without any stories to tell anyone. I am now glad to say that I have enough stories for two lifetimes.

I am a very lucky and fortune man and I wouldn't change a thing that has happened. I love my life as it is. The ups  and the downs.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

April Holidays

So I guess its time for a little update. Whats going on in my life.... Well, Jenny and I are still going strong after 6 months together and her birthday is coming up so I have a surprise planned for her :D We recently had a trip together for our Easter holidays. We went to a city outside of Bogota for 2/3 days and it rained a lot but we still had a good time! We toured a national park and waded thru rivers and walked thru a ton of mud but it was a good time and it was really beautiful. We also had a ride in a horse drawn carriage. All I could think about the whole time was that Seinfeld episode where Kramer takes George's in laws on that horse drawn carriage ride haha.

Work is still slugging along, I start a new class at my University tomorrow and I am still working for Berlitz. In June we have some more holidays and Jenny and I (Along with a lot of my friends) are going to the annual tomato fight here in Colombia which is always a great time. hmmm what else? Really there isnt much else to tell. I am pretty boring these days but happy. Yall have a good one,Ty

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.


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