My litte refuge in Jardín, part 2.

Note: This is part 2 of my story in Jardín, Colombia. If you haven’t read the first part, you can find it here.

I’m back in Jardín. After a week away, I was overjoyed to be back at my little house. It really felt like coming home, a feeling I haven’t had in a long time.

I’m back into my routine here. Yoga, meditation, language study, writing, translating, reading…

Every three to four days I head into town to do my grocery shopping. As I live a 30-min walk away, I don’t feel the need to go every day, especially as there are enough things I want to get done at ‘home’. Walking into town, however, is beautiful. Colorful houses with flowers lining the way. An ocean of banana palm trees. Everything is very lush, thanks to the torrential rain that one encounters almost every day. Luckily, it usually only lasts for a short time and the sun will make its way through the clouds as if it had always been there. People here don’t seem to mind the rain; they must be used to it. Many walk around, despite the rain falling down. Others calmly wait under an awning for it to stop. The houses in Jardín mostly have protruding roofs so that one can still walk around a block without having to step into the rain. I don’t mind it much either, as the sound of the rain keeps me very concentrated when I’m sitting on my balcony. 

Back in town, I’m dragging my huge shopping bag with me. As I’m only going shopping around every 4 days and eat in 99% of the time, I always do a lot of shopping. I love being able to buy a lot of local produce here. Avocados, mandarin oranges, and bananas are very ‘económico’ (affordable).

There’s an elderly man standing on a street corner with a wheelbarrow full of fruit and vegetables. I’ve purchased of him several times and it’s always a nice encounter. No matter how much I buy, he’ll point out every single item, asking me whether I don’t need any avocados, bananas, tree tomatoes… It’s like a game and I mostly refuse, buying only what I came for. He’s very good as his selling game though and always gets me to buy more of a quantity than I had intended because ‘if you buy 8, I’ll give them to you for 2000 pesos, if you buy 2, they cost 800’. How can I say ‘no’ to such a sweet offer? I remember one conversation we had, where I told him the price of avocados in the western world. His jaw dropped (his price is about a quarter of what you’d pay in many other countries) and he couldn’t believe it. I smiled and said ‘That’s why foreigners here go crazy and buy so many avocados. I just hope you no won’t raise the price for them!’ as he grinned at me with his toothless smile.

After all the shopping, it is time for some ice cream and/or coffee. The ice cream at the local ‘heladeria’ (gelateria) cost 2000 Pesos (about 60 Cents) for 2 scoops. The owner must know me by now because every time I’m in town I’ll pay a visit.

My next favorite place is cafés. Jardín is situated in the coffee district of Colombia and thus has great coffee at a dirt-cheap rate. You pay 1000 pesos for a cup, which equals 30 Cents and is nothing compared to the ‘tinto’, or what is called black coffee here, elsewhere in Colombia. It tastes excellent and I end up buying my favorite cafe’s ground coffee to make back at the house.

People in Jardín seem to love their coffee culture. You can see mostly men in their cowboy hats sitting around the ‘plaza’ sipping on their coffee, observing the scene and chatting with each other. The main square is always busy and the men in their cowboy hats seem to belong here just like the colorful chairs that are scattered around the center of the square. Sometimes you see a horse ride by or a little ‘tuc-tucs’ called ‘moto-taxi’ here.

It’s noon. Some stores close for their 2-hour lunch break. I decide to head back home to eat there. Cooking in South-America always means making everything from scratch. There are hardly any frozen or premade meals. This had bothered me in the beginning, but I now embrace the time to prepare my meals from scratch, soaking beans overnight, making my own peanut butter and even chocolate! Those are really mindful times for me, off my phone and electronics, creating something.

Niña! Someone is calling from outside of my house. It is the property manager, the neighbor who lives close by and who is in charge while the owner is away.

Niña! It’s taken me a while until I notice that that is me. I don’t think she knows my real name even though I’ve been here for weeks…

Laundry powder in her hand she mumbles something. I only understand 10%, grabbing the laundry powder saying good-bye. I guess I’ll find out eventually what she meant. As nice as she seems, communication is always a struggle and leaves me frustrated and highly doubting my Spanish skills.

I guess in class you never practice listening to elderly people who slur and mumble their speech plus have an accent….

Anyway, I’m finally able to do laundry. Having a washing machine is pure luxury. The number of times I had to wash all of my clothes by hand are uncountable. Yes, there are also laundromats in South-America but only when you’re in a city. So, I’m super stoked by this ‘luxurious household item’ that I don’t have to pay for using. I’m looking at my clothes, the things that have survived one year of constant wear-and-tear. When packing, I thought about all the items I’d miss, wondering how I could live without them. If you asked me now what those items were, I wouldn’t be able to tell. (And I still think I overpacked for my trip).

I’m hanging up my clothes outside watching the sky closely. It’s sunny right now, but from experience, I know the sky could turn grey within minutes and create a downpour.

That’s why it’s so beautifully green here and plants flourish. I pick up some mandarin oranges from the tree as well as some tree tomatoes and feijoa (pineapple guava). Colombia is a paradise for fruit lovers !

Freshly picked from the garden: mandarin orange, guava, tree tomato

I left the door open and suddenly a hummingbird bashes through the opening. Its buzzing fills the whole room. As quickly as it appeared it already left. I often wish I could capture these moments on camera. They have to stay ingrained in my memory instead.

Back on the balcony, back to writing. Every time I type I can’t believe that I am doing this for fun. Right now, it’s the best activity I can think of. I had planned on traveling the coast, hitting the beaches. Yet right now, nothing feels better than staying in my little ‘home’, wondering where the next one will be….

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