¿Cuál es tu relación con la inquietud?
During weeks 3-5 here in Medellín I've been thinking a lot about this question, which was posed by my yoga teacher Andrew.
restlessness, la inquietud (f)
the inability to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom.
"a feeling of restlessness was making it difficult to concentrate"
Having struggled all my life to 'apply myself' to anything it's no wonder I lack the necessary habits to learn a language. What's different now is that - unlike at school, university or work - I actually want to speak Spanish fluently, not simply to get away with the bare minimum. The fact I can concentrate sustainedly when I absolutely have to is what makes me think my problem is lack of habits rather than an underlying disorder. Regardless, it's a significant impediment.
In my last blog I wrote that I'd divided my day into 60-minute chunks. Lately I've been going to four morning yoga classes plus an evening each week (instead of mostly evening classes), which has meant altering my schedule. I'm ashamed to say I'm still struggling to limit my Facebook time, but have conceded that browsing and chatting in Spanish on Facebook and Tinder are acceptable forms of procrastination (see below). So my intention for weeks 6-10 in Medellín is:
8-9. Morning routine.
9-10. Yoga (Su, M, W, Th) OR Spanish self-study.
10-11. Get back home/ Coffee.
11-12. Spanish self-study.
12-13. Lunch at home, or at the local market.
13-14. Nap in sun and/or Skype.
16-17. More Spanish.
17-18. Yoga (Tues only).
20-23. Read Isabel Allende in Spanish and English.
I hugely enjoy the way my body feels during and after each yoga class. I'm glad I bought an unlimited monthly pass and feel I'm getting my money's worth. While I'm doing next to no cardiovascular exercise, yoga can't fail to be brilliant for me, can it? I've never stretched so much in my life.
So far I've had lovely Skypes with 25 friends, covering everything from raising bilingual children to pegging. Lisa and I are halfway through our eight-week batch-cooking-by-Skype exercise to furnish her with portable vegan meals for her 12-hour work shifts.
I've been a little preoccupied with having to give notice to my three tenants in London and starting to think about re-letting my house from 1 August.
The other thing that preoccupied me in weeks 3-5 was experimenting with Tinder (the dating app) in a quest to make friends, practise my Spanish and get laid. The truth is I put a lot of effort into keeping in touch with my people so I never feel a lack of friendship, support or love (and can enjoy my own company for days on end), but I do feel a chronic lack of touch. Two months in a big city seemed like a good opportunity to try and meet that need. It's been a pretty interesting experience, but I think I'll save my 'Tinder in Medellín' anecdotes for a separate blog post.
I've had some days out! First was the date I wrote about in my last post. As well as finding me some jeans (lifetime first: one shop, one pair, one size... tried them on and bought them!) and trainers we walked through several of Medellín's parks and squares and had a nice lunch. I thought it went well but haven't heard from her since, so I guess I misread the situation. (Colombians are very tactile, which I guess I wishfully misread for flirting.) The following weekend I took myself to the Botanical Garden and wandered around the city centre a bit on the Saturday, then visited the excellent Museum of Modern Art on the Sunday.
On International Museums Day I got myself a 'Tarjeta Cívica' (like an Oyster Card) and visited two small rather obscure museums plus the superb, free Casa de la Memoria, which includes a permanent exhibition called ‘Medellín: Memories of violence and resistance’ that tells the story of Medellín’s recent history through a collection of different voices and mediums. It's all terrifically done. I also thoroughly enjoyed my first long walk around some of the city's neighbourhoods.
Last weekend I attended lesbian-feminism Saturday-school at a community centre in the city centre. I understood little, but it felt good to be there amongst my kind. Later I was kindly and patiently taken along to a feminist concert where the music and atmosphere were terrific. It feels good to have met some local feminists and be in the Facebook loop for future events.
And finally, today (with a friend from LA) I made it up to Parque Arví, a large national park just outside - and 1000m higher than - the city, accessible by two cable cars! Within the park we had a short hike and some lunch. I shall return again for a longer walk, I am sure. So I guess for someone who's awfully good at doing very little I've actually done quite a bit here so far!
Having already extended my sojourn in Medellín from six to eight weeks I've now extended it again to ten. I've no appetite for another stint of bike-travelling before heading back to the UK for the summer. Staying here right up until my flight home (which unfortunately is from Bogotá) will mean enjoying everything this city has to offer for two additional weeks, and I'll still be here for Pride on 1 July.