The first thing local people ask you when they find out you've just moved here is, "Are you happy in Manizales?" More than anything, they want you to be happy in their hometown. At first, I felt a bit like Montag when Clarisse asked him the same question at the beginning of Fahrenheit 451, a little taken aback at being asked such a question. I can't think of a time in Washington when anyone asked me if I was happy in Spokane; is happiness too personal of an issue to discuss with strangers in the United States? If so, why? What could be more important to discuss than happiness? Telling people I'm happy is one of the first things I learned how to say in Spanish. I always answer, "Si, si...estoy muy contenta en Manizales." Manizales is tucked high in the Andes mountains of Colombia. The city is surrounded by coffee plantations and filled with steep hills. We've lived here for almost two months now, and in honor of this culture with a focus on happiness - here are some of the places in Manizales that make me happy.
Waking up on Saturday mornings and walking two blocks to La Suiza for breakfast. From left to right, beautiful views of the city, cojin brevas, classic Colombian breakfast fare, and - of course - coffee with rum. The menu is in Spanish and English; studying the menu helped me learn food vocabulary. There is also a colorful mural inside the restaurant that I love...
Every Saturday morning we study Spanish and go to our lessons with a tutor, Paula, at Juan Valdez. She doesn't even laugh at our gringo accents like my students do! I love learning Spanish; it's such a beautiful language...I studied French for years in high school and college, but learning a language while immersed in it is so much more exhilarating. My goal is to become as fluent as possible while I'm here, and feel like this less often:
Last weekend we took a public bus to Chipre and wandered around. Chipre is where you'll find the Monumento a los Colonizadores and stunning panoramic views of the city. The monument is in honor of the founders of the city and it was built out of the iron from old keys donated by residents.
We found hella good avocados (we actually at first didn't know what they were since they weren't the typical Hass avocados you see in the states, so it was a delightful surprise), grilled corn, hot empanadas, and fresh squeezed mandarinazo.