We have lived in our new apartment since January. Medellin is so different than Boquete. First, we live in a highrise with no yard. The population in Medellin is about 2.5 million where in Boquete it was about 25,000. You would think that we would never see people we know like we did in small Boquete, but we rarely go out where we don’t run into someone. Two days ago it was friends from Boquete, N&T.
We moved here with our 3 large dogs and our 3 cats which wasn’t as horrible as it could have been. Luis A drove us to PTY with muchas malletas, 6 animals, 6 cages, 3 humans and a bunch of nerves. Luis is the absolute BEST! Things that could have been a disaster, he took care of before our early morning departure. I recommend him to anyone who is in Panama City.
While visiting in Oct-Dec 2017, we rented an AirBnB apartment. In that time we got a lease, ordered appliances and furniture. We wanted the apartment completely outfitted for our return with animals. We told everyone in November and December that the delivery of orders had to be on Jan 14. And it was!!!! That’s another huge difference between Medellin and Panama.
Few Colombians speak English, unlike Boquete where Panamanians want to practice their English. We finally enrolled in a real university. After years of Spanish CDs, Habla Ya and private tutors, my placement level was A2. That’s just above beginner. David was A1, which IS beginner. But we figured that if we were going to learn, we would follow their instruction. We go to Eafit University. They are professional, their courses are well planned, and we are learning everyday.
We are also starting classes to get our Colombian driver’s license. Everyone, including adults with US and Panama licenses, has to take the 38 hour course. Then the 6 hour practical, which is driving. Unfortunately, it runs 4-7 pm and Spanish class 9-11 am. And the driving lessons are all in Spanish.
We don’t plan to buy a car but would like to be able to rent one occasionally so we can take the dogs out to the country. Medellin is really, really dog friendly but pets aren’t allowed on buses or the Metro.
Zumba here is problematic. Beto Perez, the originator of Zumba, is from Colombia but we still have very few Zumba classes. Instead, they have Rumba. Rumba is very easy to do so I don’t get a good workout. It has no pattern and ends up being whatever random steps the instructor wants to do. I find that we do the same thing way to much and it’s boring. I don’t know why Rumba is so popular because it really sucks.
Because of our pet menagerie, we still need a housesitter when we leave. One of the great things about Medellin is that everyone wants to visit. We have had 2 different sitters and have another arranged for Christmas/New Years. Our next sitters are 2 girls from Brazil who work online. They are going to love Navidad in Medellin. The city is gorgeous!
Shopping is another plus. Clothes fit gringas and are well made. Even Extra Large items were too small for me in Panama – and I am size 8-10 US. Colombian women dress well. They would never leave their house without hair done and make-up. Men wear long pants. Workers have various uniforms. Everyone looks neat and I find that really nice.
A huge difference that we found is that every time someone asks us if we live here, they as “Como te gusta Medellin?” We tell them that we love it. One hundred percent of the time, 100%, they are so happy we are here and welcome us. I am embarrassed that the US doesn’t always make foreigners feel welcome. Colombians could not be nicer to us.
We have already renewed our lease for another year with no hesitation. Medellin is a nice place to visit but an awesome place to live.