Posted by: pckatie | August 26, 2014

Two Years in Colombia

Tomorrow will mark the two year anniversary of my arrival in Colombia!  Two years ago today I was at staging in Miami and getting ready to fly to Barranquilla to begin my 27 month adventure!  I am beyond excited at the prospect of going home in just two months, but at the same time I am apprehensive about leaving my home away from home!  Mostly I am focusing on finishing up strong at my school, spending time with all the people I love, and gozaring the time I have left in mi querida Colombia!

I thought it would be fun to do a quick look back (well, it’s technically long…but it’s mostly pictures!) and though what better way to do that then to post a collection of some of the Facebook statuses I have posted over the course of the past two years.  There are events from home, silly stories from Colombia, and many milestones!

8-31-12: “Chase your dreams, but always know the road that will lead you home again.”  Peace out Arizona…hello Colombia!

Phoenix, Arizona to Barranquilla, Colombia!

Phoenix, Arizona to Barranquilla, Colombia!

9-23-12: This guy thinks he’s tough with all his spiky legs…he’s no match for me.

The 'cien pies' who terrorized me in Barranquilla.

The ‘cien pie’ who terrorized me in Barranquilla.

10-19-12: I will be calling the pueblo of Bayunca my home for the next two years!

I received quite the welcome on my site visit!

I received quite the welcome on my site visit!

11-19-12: CII-4 has sworn in and we are now serving as Peace Corps Volunteers!

CII4 Swearing In Ceremony

CII4 Swearing In Ceremony

1-3-13: Still no Internet but I wanted to wish everyone a (late) Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Mine consisted of eating a weird huge rodent which we cooked on a fire in the backyard, lots of whiskey, and a huge wonderful family! Feliz 2013!

Just your usual Christmas dinner....

Just your usual Christmas dinner….

2-5-13: What did you have for lunch today? Not a cow’s lungs? So it’s just me then…….

Cow's lungs aka 'bofe'

Cow’s lungs aka ‘bofe’.

2-7-13: After two hours in a 90 degree classroom……43 four year olds can now say ‘red’ and ‘circle’ in English. And only one kid ate paint!

Red circle!

Red circle!

2-13-13: The teachers at my school thought it would be a good idea to take about 100 primary students to mass this morning for Ash Wednesday. I’m sitting in a pew intended for six people with about 14 kids. On one side of me the kid is telling me he isn’t catholic, he is in a cult. I am in the middle of shushing him when the kid on the other side of me looks at me and says, “Yo oriné” (I peed). The ashes are mixing with the sweat and turning to mud. I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind…

2-16-13: What do you get when you take 154 students, no fans, a small classroom, and one very sweaty English teacher? My first community English class!

Kids on kids on kids...

One quarter of the community class students!

2-22-13: I’m teaching a yoga class to a group of Colombian women, my ‘Tranquil Moments’ playlist is on in the background, and we are literally five minutes into class in a downward facing dog when suddenly this one woman blurts out, “I think there’s a reason Colombian’s don’t do yoga!” upon which everyone collapses and starts talking/laughing/carrying on in typical ‘we are the happiest people in the world’ Colombian fashion. We ended up drinking Kola Roman and dancing to Carlos Vives on the patio. I’m calling this one a win.

4-24-13: Check my blog for some very important updates and details on my site change.  First day at my new school in Santa Marta was a success!

Beautiful IED Simon Bolivar!

Beautiful IED Simon Bolivar!

6-4-13: I’m sitting in the backwards seat on the bus next to the wide open door when the driver (who thinks he is staring in The Fast and the Furious takes Colombia) suddenly swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid slowing below racecar speed. A bus full of Colombians start yelling and screaming at him and saying “Are you crazy?! La gringa almost flew out the door! You almost killed la gringa!!” Then a man switched seats with me and I rode the rest of the way home with a Colombian grandma holding my hand. These Colombians got my back!

A bus in Santa Marta (this one is of the 'death seat' variety).

A bus in Santa Marta (this one is of the ‘death seat’ variety).

6-13-14: Got a package from my parents today! They are the BEST! I also love the note from my mama. Some people get inspirational, mushy, encouraging, loving notes. I get ‘This is not Christmas’. My parents are hilarious and I love them.

I guess I know where I got my sass from...

I guess I know where I got my sass from…

6-22-13: Had an epic reunion in PERU with my bests Lindley and Lindsey!

Our trek to Machu Picchu!

Our trek to Machu Picchu!

7-14-13: Went to visit my Abuelo Alfredo in the hospital and was reunited with my Bayuncan family. My heart is full of so much love.

So much love for this family!

Miss these people everyday!

9-10-13: Celebrating my birthday with my family from 3000 miles away complete with decorations, presents, and party hats!

The best family in the world.

The best family in the world.

9-28-13: Today, my best friend will walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life. I am so sad I can’t be there to share in your special day! Taylor Cody, you will make the most beautiful bride and deserve all the happiness in the world. All my love and best wishes to you both on your wedding day!

I may not have been there in person, but I was there in heart (and in a photo on a stick!)

I may not have been there in person, but I was there in heart (and in a photo on a stick!)

10-1-13: Some ferocious little animals, my daily mango fix, and some fan mail!

A few of my favorite things.

A few of my favorite things.

10-8-13: Exploring the beautiful Eje Cafetero with Chelsey Payne!

Magical land of coffee!

Magical land of coffee!

11-1-13: “Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.” I’m so thankful for the last 14 years with this little angel. Luckily, all dogs go to heaven!

Heidi, my favorite little person in this world.

Heidi, my favorite little person in this world.

11-2-13: Potluck dinner with the new arrivals!  Welcome Santa Marta CII-5!

Most of Santa Marta CII3, CII4, and CII5!

Most of Santa Marta CII3, CII4, and CII5!

12-7-13: After a wonderful month teaching at the English Immersion program in San Andres, I am back in Santa Marta!

Traditional dress and the beautiful San Andres Island!

Traditional dress and the beautiful San Andres Island!

12-14-13: Stopped at the store and then got my bags stolen on my way home (just snatched…I am fine). To the man who stole my groceries, I hope that:  1. You are actually hungry and need the food more than me.  2. You like bananas, cinnamon, trident gum, and diet coke..because that is all I bought.

12-25-13: REUNITED after 16 long months apart!

The McCarthy's do Christmas in Colombia!

The McCarthy’s do Christmas in Colombia!

1-15-14: Sitting in my room on the computer when a dog runs in and jumps up on my bed. Naturally, I don’t question where he came from and commence puppy snuggling. A few minutes later he jumps down and runs into the living room and I hear my host mom yelling “KATY….ESE PERRO DE QUIEN ES?!” Then I spent the next 10 minutes chasing him out of the apartment……

I spend a large portion of my time chasing Wanda around and returning her to her home.

I spend a large portion of my time chasing Wanda around and returning her to her home.

1-24-14: I am standing in the kitchen cooking dinner when a random lady unlocks the door and comes in (my host mom is not home). She says hello, asks how I am, and then proceeds to sit down on the couch and make a phone call (leaving me standing in the kitchen looking dumbfounded). Next, she comes into the kitchen and tells me I am cooking my chicken wrong (I accept this stranger’s advice, as I have learned to ALWAYS do with Colombian women. They know more than me when it comes to basically anything domestic. Just accept it and move on). Next, she cooks herself some liver and makes tea. Obviously. I go to my room to eat dinner, because I assume if she was a murder/kidnapper she would have done it by now. She clearly seems to know who I am, so I don’t want to be rude by asking who she is and what she is doing in my house. Currently she is sitting in the spare bedroom watching “Extreme Couponers” and talking (I assume to herself). Welcome to the random chaos that is my life.

4-9-14: Before and after. I make adult braces look cool!


Adult braces are totally de moda in Colombia!

4-11-14: Today one of my teachers chased a misbehaving student around the classroom, grabbed him by his rat tail, dragged him to her desk, and proceeded to chop his rat tail off. CHOPPED IT OFF. I cannot make this stuff up.

4-12-14: Reel feel of 115, mosquito eggs have taken over what was left of the water supply, and the buckets are empty.

Hot and dirty...but still feliz :)

Hot and dirty…but still feliz 🙂

6-12-14: My 70-something year old host mom is currently watching The Human Centipede (in English). About every 2 minutes she calls me in to explain what is going on (Katy…qué está pasando? y por qué?!) As I finish explaining and walk out of the room I hear her crossing herself and mumbling “Santa María madre de Dios!” have had a lot of strange experiences here, but I think this one takes the cake…..

6-26-14: The rain let up long enough for a trip up to Monserrate in beautiful Bogota!

Looking out over beautiful Bogota.

Looking out over the whole city!

7-1-14: There was a giant spider on my floor. I finally got the courage to smash him. I immediately discovered it was actually a her……because babies burst out all over the floor. BILLIONS OF BABY SPIDERS RUNNING IN ALL DIRECTIONS.

7-4-14: Spent the day apoyando a la selección. They may have lost, but all of Colombia is so PROUD! Ended the day celebrating US Independence Day with some good old American burgers! So much love for BOTH of my countries! Happy 4th!

God bless America/Te quiero Colombia!

God bless America/Te quiero Colombia!

7-10-14: Today a man followed me all the way through Gaira yelling “NO TE VAYAS”. Then he followed me onto the bus and stood in the aisle serenading me with ‘La Gringa’ until the bus driver told him to pay or get off….at which point he bowed, blew a kiss, and jumped off the moving bus.  Never a dull moment…

7-17-14: Today’s English class involved taping cotton on a kids face to make him old, convincing the clinica to lend us a stethoscope, and a duet of Daddy Yankee’s ‘Limbo’ on the recorder. Have I ever mentioned how much I love teaching?

Learning English is fun!

Learning English is fun!

7-25-14: I have exactly 100 days left in Colombia. On the one hand, I feel like I might burst into tears at the very thought of leaving. On the other hand, I am so excited for all the people and comforts of home the anticipation might just kill me!

8-16-14: CII4 has officially completed our Close of Service conference!

Congratulations CII4, we made it!

Congratulations CII4, we made it!

I am excited to say that I officially have the dates for the end of my service.  My close of service date is October 31st, then I am traveling through Bolivia for a few weeks, and will touch down on US soil for the first time in over two years on November 20th!  Somebody better head to Four Peaks and tell them to start stocking up on peach ale!  Hasta pronto!

Until next time….paz y amor.



  1. Nice way to recap 🙂

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