In Which I Talk About Myself

this is me! and a friend!I’m Natalie. I write things.

For now, I write this thing. Also, this other thing and this other thing. In addition to my constant pastimes of overthinking grammar and getting far too emotionally invested in the successes and failures of particular sports teams, I’ve been spending the most recent phase of my life here in Bogotá, Colombia. For all of 2012, I worked as a volunteer teacher with an organization called WorldTeach. It was an incredible year, filled with mysterious new fruits, sassy Colombian teenagers and a few too many public transportation mishaps. As the end of the year approached, I realized I wasn’t nearly ready to go home to the States. So now I’m back with a vengeance, writing for a living just like a real person. Hence, this blog, because the People Back at Home will not be satisfied unless I bestow upon them the occasional update from my constantly thrilling life here in mountain country. So here we are.

Oh, and for the record: yes, you can, in fact, purchase peanut butter in Bogotá. But it’s not the good kind.

31 thoughts on “In Which I Talk About Myself

  1. Great blog! I found it searching for peanut butter in Colombia or rather why there is none. Thanks for the great stories.

    • This is valuable information that is highly relevant to my interests. Please enlighten me about this magical nut-butter-making machine so I can copy you ASAP.
      (seriously. I’d pay good money for some almond butter right about now)

  2. Hello Natalie!

    Since we had already been to Colombia, we knew about the nut butter crisis. We purchased a Vitamix.com before moving to Colombia. My wife makes home made peanut butter and almond butter and it’s AMAZING! She’s even selling it now. There’s a local brand that sells peanut butter but adds tons of sugar and oil to it 😦

    We live in Pereira, so I don’t know how we can get you some butter in Bogota, but we will look into if you’re interested. The other option is to find a good provider, possibly in the Usaquen market or Codabas.

    🙂

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  3. I came across this looking for info on arequipe and the title of your blog sent me into a fit of giggles. So monumental-sounding!I get peanut butter insecurity 🙂 and have been known to pack peanut butter in my suitcase. I recently discovered powdered peanut butter with cocoa you reconstitute with water. Delicious and low fat! I made mental note that next time I spent more than a week outside of the country it would go with me. Because it’s just a powder it’s so light! Anyway, I was in Bogota recently and the taste of crepe with arequipe and pineapple still lingers in my mouth, I mean mind. I wish Crepes and Waffles would go international! What great place! And I am now interested in this non-prof you volunteer with. I have friends there right now that are looking for opportunities, paid or otherwise. Good luck, Natalie!

  4. Hola,

    It’s great to read your blog! I am down to the last few tablespoons of my precious almond butter stash that I persuaded my parents they needed to pack in their suitcases from NZ when they came to visit – impending disaster! I hear that Salento has a great wee cafe to buy natural peanut butter though!

    Thought you might be interested in visiting our beautiful spot at some stage while you are in Colombia – we offer a pretty special experience in our new hostel and private dining restaurant, in a stunning rural area just outside of Manizales!

    http://www.thesecretgardenmanizales.com
    http://www.facebook.com/THESECRETGARDENVILLAMARIAMANIZALES

    We have also developed a new travel guide to Colombia that tries to showcase some interesting or off-the-beaten-track destinations – you can check it out here:

    http://www.thesecretgardenmanizales.com/backpackerspremiumclass.cfm
    http://www.facebook.com/backpackerspremiumclass

    Let us know what you think!!

    Kate and Diego

  5. Payless on Colombia is the most overpriced horrible store there is. You will be much better buying on the South even at better quality. Shoes you can find at payless at 16 bucks, they are at Colombia at over 90,000 pesos. It is a rip off, and as my tocaya Carolina said: heels are just another expression of sophistication.

    We Bogotanas pride on our appearance, it does not matter where from the city you are. Most women pride on their appearance. Also, proper language and grammar when speaking/writing (with a serious professional presence) are a representative of your education/upbringing and inevitably on Bogota the “dress for the job you want” is taken to heart.

    I’ve lived around the world, but when I got back I have to stock up on much more reserved clothes, because I would stand out.

    You can wear boots, or little boots with heels. Seriously do NOT buy on Payless shoes have a horrible quality and are overpriced (compare with the US website). Go to Restrepo on the shoe section. There is over 200 show stores next to the other, made from leather locally and most (OF COURSE) nice trendy heels. If you tell them what kind of show you want, they will most likely go out of their way to other store to get selections for you. They will always get my business over Payless. Also…at 40,000~ pesos I can’t say no 😀

    • So true! I’m not a fan of chains in general, and Payless is definitely nothing compared to Restrepo! Thank god Restrepo is so far away from where I live, or I’d be spending all of my volunteer stipend there every month…

  6. Natalie I’ve just spent the vast majority of my Day reading your blog, and remind myself that I should just go back already to my beloved Bogota, I couldn’t help but wonder why there aren’t any post about partying in Bogota, about rumba/farra??, what about El goze pagano or la zona rosa, in any case , I love your Blog, you have a real talent please keep up the good work.

    • Felipe,
      Thanks so much for commenting, and I’m so glad you’re enjoying my musings on your wonderful city! To answer your question, I think the main reason I don’t have any posts about partying in Bogotá is because that’s pretty much what everyone else writes about, so to me it doesn’t seem that unique or interesting. There are tons of other blogs that can tell you about Zona Rosa — and, honestly, there’s a Zona Rosa in lots of cities. You can party and drink in every country, but you can’t buy granadillas anywhere else. I like to try to describe unique aspects of Bogotá and Colombia to people who may never visit here, so I try to stick more to those kinds of topics.
      Plus, I’m not in the habit of taking my DSLR to Zona Rosa clubs, so I don’t have any photos. And I was raised by a photojournalist, so no photos would be a cardinal sin.
      Plus, potential employers may very well find this site by Googling me.
      I hope you keep reading, and please keep commenting in the future! Thanks for stopping by, and you should definitely try to make it back to Bogotá sometime soon!

    • Thanks so much! It has been a really awesome experience so far, and it’s fun having this venue to share all of the amazing things about Colombia with the rest of the world. So glad you’re enjoying reading!

  7. Hi Natalie,

    Great blog, you have some amazing articles and photos. If you are ever interested in submitting any articles or photos to us at BarrelHopping, we have ongoing contests where you can win cash to help fund your continued travels.

  8. Hi Natalie,

    I’m a WorldTeach Colombia 2013 volunteer & reading your blog has me fist pumping w excitement as I try to cram as much into 2 suitcases as possible! I’ll be teaching in Barranquilla so I’m sure we’ll have different experiences, but I’ll try to organise a Peanut Butter Revolution in my spare time 🙂
    Happy returns!

    Allison Kaplan

  9. Hey Natalie,
    I just discovered your blog and LOVE it! You really have a talent for writing, plus you take really great photos!
    Will be moving to Colombia this month and can’t wait. It will be Bogotá, though I would have actually preferred the Caribbean coast. Nothing beats that hot and humid paradise.
    I wish you a great time at the costa and am looking forward to reading about it!
    Greetings from Germany,
    Yoolie

    • Yoolie,
      So happy you like my little project! I admit half the reason I have this is to give myself a good motivation for trying to improve my photography skills, so I’m glad it seems to be paying off. Are you here in Bogotá yet?

      • Hey! Yes I am here since a month now. I would call my relationship with this city one of love and hate.. But no I mostly love it here. 🙂 Are you at the cost yet?

      • Love/hate seems pretty accurate… the trick is just having the love outweigh the hate. Cheesy, I know, but that’s what love does to us, right?
        I did go to Barranquilla for Carnaval, but I’m back in chilly, wonderful Bogotá now!

  10. Hi Natalie! I love your blog name, I’ve already broken a coffee grinder making peanut butter at home (I don’t recommend it, ha) cause as you say, in SA they don’t have the good kind (and looking at the previous comments, I’m guessing you never expected so many thoughts on sourcing peanut butter). Anyway, it’s great to see other foreigners’ experiences in Colombia, have a great second year in Bogota!

    • Thanks so much, Eva! I’m impressed that you dared to venture into making your own peanut butter… although considering the abundance of mani sold everywhere here, maybe it’s not such a bad idea! You’re right, though — it never occurred to me that there would be such an outpouring of peanut-related advice, although I guess I should’ve figured that I’m not the only one in Latin America with strong feelings about peanut butter. Hope all is well in the plastic surgery capital of Colombia! 🙂

  11. Hey Natalie,

    I love your blog. Lots of great cultural information! You have me really excited to live there. My two worries are being vegetarian and being able to wander and explore the city on my own (preferably with my camera…it’s like an extension on my arm in new and interesting places). Have you had any problems with either of those?

    I’m also considering bringing my cat with me. Is it easy to keep your kitten safe there and to find people to take care of her when you travel?

    Last but not least, I’m torn between living in Bogota and Medellin….you seem to love Bogota. Any advice on making that decision?

    Thank you so much!!

    Becca

  12. HI Natalie,

    Your post on aguardiente came up as I prepare for my first trip to Bogota and I have to say it was very helpful.

    Thanks for the amusing read.

    Best,
    Ryan

  13. I just stumbled across your blog by accident while I was searching what Aguardiente was made out of. I laughed my butt off because I have the same exact sentiments toward that horrid stuff, the only way I have been able to slightly enjoy it is if a shor is mixed with a glass of Cifruit de Maracuya! I greatly enjoy your blog! I live about 45 minutes away in a rinkydink town called Sesquile, it isn’t the nicest place but the scenary is definitely gorgeous! ! I don’t know if you are still here or not but I hope you enjoy your time in Colombia! I will definitely be reading through your blog! 😀 You are a great writer!

    • Thanks so much, Donna! I keep hearing about how guaro is an “acquired taste” and so on, but two years haven’t done me any good in terms of acquiring any more positive feelings about it, so I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. I haven’t been to Sesquile, but I’ve seen some of the towns nearby – nothing like the scale of Bogotá, for sure, but you’re right that it is beautiful out there. Hope you’ve enjoyed your time here as well!

    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Jess! I’m so glad I was able to help with your transition to this awesome city, and I hope everything continues to go well for you! Keep us all posted on your bogotano adventures 🙂

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