when in rome, do as the romans do
or in our case, when in Colombia, do as the Colombians do.
- Speak Spanish. They do not understand English, and they will look at you funny if you try to talk to them in English. They do not understand you if you say "como se dice ____." Try to picture my dad attempting to ask his missionaries how to say "assert yourself".
- Drive like a maniac. They do not tolerate timid driving, and they will hit your car - and drive away. Honk frequently, drive in the middle of two lanes, disregard all stop signs and traffic lights, and look out for the millions of "motos" (motorcycles/scooters).
- Give gifts to guests. My parents and I went to a single adult fireside, and they gave us all gifts. I was given a Colombian leather purse. Seriously? I'm obsessed.
- Eat a huge lunch. Breakfast and dinner might as well not exist. Their lunches are the size of all 3 meals combined.
- Keep all the windows open. Air conditioning is rare here, and sometimes the buildings don't even have windows that close. Sounds hot, but it's actually so breezy and quite lovely. In one of the church buildings, there is a courtyard in the middle of the building, and everything is wide open. I love it.
- Carry a machine gun. Just kidding... but we have indeed seen some with the DAS and police officers who chill in the streets.
- Ride the MetroCables! In Medellín, there are metro cable cars that take you up the mountains. You can see the entire city, and it's beautiful!
- Give big hugs and kiss all the women on the cheek. Colombians are a very loving people and so friendly! I have gotten more kisses on the cheek in the past 5 days than I have in my entire life.
- Listen to uncomfortably loud music into the early hours of the morning so no one can sleep. Around 10 PM, the music starts, and if you're not like me, who can sleep like a rock, you will be kept awake.
- and in my case, walk through the city with my bodyguards, the elders! I fit right in, minus the nametag. Just call me Hermana Prince!