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We finally found it: A new home!
Well, “home” in the sense that we’ll be living in one place for more than 6-8 weeks.
We spent two weeks driving through Panama expecting to fall in love with a cute town, but it didn’t happen.
Our next stop was Medellin, Colombia. I admit, before we arrived I was pretty worried. I wasn’t super thrilled with the prospect of spending a huge chunk of time in Central/ South America to begin with (been there, done that, ready to move on.), and my unexplained disdain for Panama did not feel like a good sign. What if I didn’t like Colombia, either? What if I didn’t like any country in South America?
Everyone in Panama who heard our next stop was Medellin just raved about the city. Everyone seemed to love it. I wasn’t convinced that we would, but it gave me enough hope to at least come to the city with an open mind. Well, I’m happy to report that I just knew we had found our home as soon as we pulled out of the airport.
What immediately stood out to us was how beautiful, modern, clean, warm, and friendly this city is. Medellin is built in the valley of the Andes mountains in central Colombia. The city has slowly expanded from he center of the valley up the mountain sides, which leads to incredible views from every angle. The weather truly is “eternal Spring”, and has been in the low 80’s with a slight breeze and no rain since we arrived. And the people… oh my word. I’ve never been approached, helped, and befriended so instantly by so many people.
We didn’t jump in to exploring the area like we normally do, instead choosing to lay low in one place and get started on moving in business. We could tell right away that we liked the area, and we were, frankly, exhausted from traveling and the pressure of knowing we needed to find a place to settle down.
We spent our first week in Medellin in a 1-bedroom AirBnB in the upper hills of the popular expat neighborhood of Poblado. We chose that area because it’s one of the closest to what we hoped would be Whit’s new school, and it didn’t disappoint. It took a full week of seeing rental units and going on interviews for Whit’s new school for things to get figured out, but by the second week we were on our way to “normal” life.
We moved into a gorgeous 3-bedroom in the Poblado hills. It’s been beautifully updated with hardwood floors, a dishwasher, A/C, and a dryer, a huge open balcony, 2 comfortable bedrooms with giant master bathroom, a dedicated home office, and a separate office space in the living room. We’re paying $1700 USD/ month on the unit, which is much more than we expected, but we couldn’t help it: it’s perfect.
Whit’s new school, appropriately (and confusingly) called The New School, is another dream come true. It’s set on a huge property up the mountain with no other buildings nearby. The solitude means the school can expand it’s grounds, which include a small farm, nature trails, outdoor volleyball and soccer fields set in the woods, and more. The campus is a bit sprawling, with the cluster of elementary classrooms nearby multiple playgrounds and outdoor learning spaces. The cafeteria only serves locally sourced, organic masterpieces twice a day. Whit gets something like cereal in yogurt milk with fresh fruit as a snack during a 40-minute break in the morning when he’s allowed to wander and play as he likes, and a lunch of rice, beans, soup, and fish, beef, or chicken for lunch.
And his teachers… oh man. A godsend. They text me and call me throughout the day with updates, have gone out of their way to help us organize transportation for him and other concerns, and give plenty of hugs. Whit’s been in 6 schools in three years (not including homeschool), and this is the first time he begs us to go to school each day and doesn’t want to leave in the afternoons.
It makes my mother heart so happy!
So there you go. Medellin, we’ve arrived. And we’re not leaving!
For 4 months, anyway.