From my perspective, our arrival in Medellin has gotten off to a bumpy start. In some ways, things have gone incredibly well. Our landlords are really nice and we have a great apartment with amazing views of the city. We found a yoga studio in our neighborhood and we already have meetings set up for most of the coming week.
That said, we have had two large crises within the span of less than 48 hours.
The “Dante” Crisis:
In Bogota we enjoyed going to the local market to buy cheap, fresh vegetables and fruit. On our first day in Medellin, we attempted to do the same. (Looking back, this was a silly idea and we should have just gone to the supermarket around the corner)
We took the metro to the stop near the “Plaza Minorista” and walked towards the market. The first street off of the metro was a bit sketchy, as the streets were lined with auto parts shops and grease-covered men. Second-hand goods (trash?) covered the broken sidewalks, like pieces of scrap metal, naked old dolls, and grimy clothing. We started to feel uncomfortable, but kept walking, which was our mistake. The next street was more desolate and people were passed out on the streets, drugged and partially naked. It was a nasty sight. It wasn’t poverty that made me feel uncomfortable, but the sense of vice around us.
Jake and I turned right back around, walked quickly back to the metro station, got in a taxi and took it the five blocks to the Plaza Minorista. As we began walking through the fruit stalls, I burst into tears. Jake consoled me by vowing that of course we would never return anywhere near the “Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell” part of Medellin. Oops.
The “Water” Crisis:
Today after breakfast, right before trying a new yoga studio, I spilled a glass of water onto the back of my computer, which then promptly short-circuited. Noting the approaching breakdown, Jake suggested that we leave the computer and just go to yoga, as it would probably restart when we got home after yoga. It didn’t. I burst into tears and was crying so hard – in that ridiculous sort of way that snot runs down your face – that Jake started laughing at me.* I got mad, stormed into the bathroom, locking it behind me and announcing that I wanted to go home. When I emerged from the bathroom, Jake had put my laptop in a plastic shopping bag with dry rice to soak up the moisture. I couldn’t help but laugh at his ingenuity.
Once I had calmed down a bit, we found a registered Mac servicer down the street and took the computer in, pretending that we didn’t know what was wrong. When the guy opened the back of the computer, there were literally little pools of water near my hard drive and circuit board. We tried to look innocent as the guy explained that it was “obviously” water damage. He said he would do his best, but that there was probably no hope.
To our delight and surprise, Mr. Medellin Mac Man called us three hours later to say that the computer was fixed and that the water hadn’t hit any of the sensors. He explained that if things go wrong down the road, we can take it to a Mac store in the United States, feign innocent again (because technically there was no water damage) and it should by covered by Apple Care.
Addendum by Jake: I did not laugh at Casey for crying. I laughed because of the dramatic statements she shrieked through her tears, including the following:
“I just want to go home.”
“Why did this happen to us?”
“You didn’t even get me a present for my birthday!”
“I work hard, I don’t deserve this!”
“We are here to do a dissertation and without a computer, we are nothing.”
“What are we gonna do now? I can’t call people today! I can’t talk to people in Spanish on the phone pretending that everything is wonderful, that my research is fabulous, and that I love my life. How can I do that today?”
“We aren’t stupid gringos that are in Medellin just to throw their money at big tits. We are trying to work!”