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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