Sunday, May 12, 2013

feelings, people.

hey there,
i would like to share with emotions. I think it is a good day to say something warm to my family and best friends. It will be very personal, but here it is the only place where i can write everything to everybody, so it wont be to "show myself" or something, this post will have nothing in common with my description and life in Colombia. or maybe? actually it is. People, who dont know me, people who have never experienced feelings as I do may not understand and judge as "too private" post. BUT people who were exchange students and still have feelings to the people there, will know what i feel now.

so here is a little bit about my second home, second family..

My dear family, friends..
I dont know how to start this post. Maybe from the words that i am crying writting this, or maybe from this how much i love you all...each of you made my life different, because of you i became happier person. Everything has happend so suddenly. I havent realized when i fall in love with Colombia, when I found this happiness, which is totally different than I have in Poland. each of you are and will be very special person for me, forever. its 01.20am, i am laying in my bed, looking around my room, looking at my wall with photos of you all and title " home is whenever i am with you" , looking at Colombian flag, which you all signed, reading all those letters you wrote for me, looking for all those pictures we took together. it is amazing having this kind of people, who keep you happy everyday because of 14 000 km of distance. despite of not everyday talking, even not weekly.. i think of you everyday. everyday i think what my Colombian Siblings are doing, which picture Cristina is taking now, Which crazyness Hugo and Pacho have done, what Mariana has tumbrled, how is Rodizio, how is Juan Martin, what my "locas tias" are doing,what feel new exchange students in Cucuta, if they wanna go home or not...????? there are so many thoughts everyday and so little time to call everybody everyday and ask. During everyday i am trying to concentrate on my school and everyday life. Deeply, inside me I am trying to hide this missing to Colombia, to my grandfathers, Sandra and her family and to everybody which are there for me ! You have no even idea what i can give for at least one dream of you all, to see you all, hug you all and say how much i miss you. i've realized how much saying our feelings is important and now i am dreaming to say mines.
I dont know when i will come to Colombia again. It can be in August, December or even next year June, everything is up to school and my daily things which i can not leave.
I would like to say thank you and I love you,
for Luz Nelly and Jorge, my host parents 2. who were always caring about me, who were always making my days better and better, who showed me theirs family and let me belong to them. I will never forget those Jorge's jokes, my dear 24h working Luz Nelly. I want you to know that you are perfect parents, dont change. I know I should talk with you bit more when I was there, but i trurly believe that we could understand with each other with no words, smile and look was enough to know everything.
for my siblings, Silvia, Sergio, Chiqui- without you guys this family wouldnt be perfect as it is. Silvia, your love with Luis R, love to your 2 children, which one-Juan is bigger and bigger and the second one which you are carring - it is amazing, you are strong, independent woman who will always win, but actually you have arleady won- Luis R and love and I see you happy in it.
Chiqui- I dont have to write much, you arleady now everything, I just feel and compare you to my Polish brother, you did everything for me during our time together. now when i am remembering miami and our "fights"... ouh, i would give everything to get back there. I loved waiting for you 8478 hours or I loved going out school at 7am seeing you in pool still partying.
Sergio: you have this knowledge, you were always very reasonable and funny. what i remember the most about you? watching with you movie" tan fuerte tan cerca" I dont really know why this, but you made a special impression on me. and another one.. our long talking in Cartagena, remember?
all tias and tios locos maybe we havent spent time with each other everyday, but without you all my life in this family wouldnt be as it was (is) its like you all create family.. and without one person it is not the same. you all have to be together, because you are like puzzle. when one piece is missing, then its not whole picture :)

grandma, grandfather, Sandra, Daniela, Laura, Luis E. I started with you my exchange, my first, the most difficult months were with you. You know me the longest and I am grateful to you for everything. You were always available for me, 24h, everything was done immedietaly to help me, to make everything easier. I am very happy you came to Poland and met my family, this meeting was magical for my mom. you did not talk with each other all nights long, but the energy which you gave my family was unforgettable. When my mom came to Colombia, abuela as much as abuelo did enormous thing for her, which she will never fortget. My mom was in Colombia 16 days. She could fall in love, thats why she understands me the most, how i feel. i would like to say thank you, because she does it ( understands me) because of your family and your time which you gave her.

Cristina, Mariana, Hugo, Pacho, Renzo, Gabriela, Diego, Nicolas, Alejandra, Daniela we spent time almost everyday at school or after( besides Renzo and Daniela who left us to discover EU, whatever)we spent the best parties in my life together. we spent sad and happy moments. the day i think the most important of our relationship was during my goodbye party. the day before and day after. during this 3 days, i understood that you are as important as my host families. I remember moments when i was wondering about our friendship. is it friendship? or am i just exchange student, who is fun and after my come back to Poland we wont have any contact, that another, new exchange student fill replace me. i remember when my polish friends were saying that i am just a new "toy" for you because i am european as much as philipine girl in our town. but i remember my conversation with Hugo, when he told me words i will NEVER forget which was " you belong to us, no matter if you are here or in Poland" after Mariana wrote me " together forever never apart, maybe in a distance but not in a heart" i am pretty sure you dont even remember that you said that but those words made me special for you, not only exchange students. Cristina, with you.. I survived roller coaster, really.. i remember my tears, my smiles and crazy stuff. i remember our first "official" go out with Jairo, you exactly know how i felt. remember? Diegito- to sum up my time in Colombia in december and my last year.. i can even say that you and your family could be my third host family, because of my being at your house with you, Sissal almost everyday.. ok, everyday:) you know what was the nicest words you have ever told me? " You are the only one female friend who is really friend" that was the most important words during all my staying in CO in december.
Nicolas- you have changed my exchange dude, like really. we have been talked about it million times so i dont have to describe here anything more. the nicest thing about you? january 2012, after my come back from Cartagena to Bogota, remember? : ) i dont want to add nothing more about you, because you exactly know what i want to say.
Alejandra, Daniela.. with you my girls i didnt spend much time, but enough to see your beautiful personality. Alejandra.. remember my tshirt POLOCA loca? btw, i have to find it and start wearing it because finally in Poland we have SPRING, that means SNOW IS OVER , yay. Daniela- when you will done with reading this, text me on whatsapp, I will send you something.
Pacho, Hugo OMG I FEEL SICK when i am "remembering" our APPLE on Hugo's balcoon. ekhmm remembering??
Renzo and Gabriela & Alejandra: just one word, Bogota. and Renzo's apartament, make up, Renzo and Gabriela are totally the best make up makers. !!!
Mariana Y- remember about TUMBRL :) i am your biggest fan:) and your gift for me from nyc, it very often on me :) the thing with you? I guess the day after my goodbye party. you, me hugo,pacho, cris, jairo, nicolas, mariana S in pizza gourment. during this 2 hours you all showed all this love to me.

and I think these persons are in my "the most important people in my life" group. thank you for everything, i hope we will meet soon and we can all make party as huge as it was during my goodbye party in piso7, but then it wont be recorded by 600 people but by national tv :))))) I love my crazyness with you,  Cant wait to hug you all and smile, feel this cucutenan calor.

" together forever, never apart, maybe in the distance but not in the heart"
Luz Nelly, Jorge, Abuelita, Abuelito, Sandra, Daniela, Laura, Luis E, Silvia, Chiqui, Sergio, Luis R, Cristina, Mariana, Hugo, Pacho, Renzo, Gabriela, Diego, Nicolas, Alejandra, Daniela.

I love you all,

I wrote it, it took me hour and i wanted to delete all this after i felt better.. but then i thought why the world shouldnt know about ex exchange student, who is not careless of the people which met there?

I would like to tell you in next post about some very famous painter. Colombian of course. his pictures are even on my notebooks and wallpapers. Fernando Botero- you know?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

september and half october

Hello everybody !

its so good to have few moments for myself and write something here. I love being at home, my lovely room, my parents, EXTREMLY good food and my friends. Unfortunately I have to write 4 huge  essays, which take a lot of time, thats why the only one entertainment for now its updating my blog :)

So as I promised you, I will keep writing about my first days/months/feelings in Colombia. I arleady described you August. My arriving to Colombia, My new family, new school, new friends etc. It was extremly hard for me. Now I realized that I left home at the age of 16. Regret? maybe leaving home, but Colombia and memories will stay in my minds forever.  believe me that was extremely hard leaving my family and friends in Poland, because if you are going on your exchange, you cannot live on facebook with all news and gossips. You can not be in touch with your friends and family everyday on skype. that is waste of time being there. what is the best, leave your life in your home city, start new life  abroad. if you have boyfriend/girlfriend- sorry, but the best decision is to split up before your exchange. What people really dont understant is that being one year abroad it is a HUGE chance and possibility. this year can open doors for EVERYTHING you want, or it can close if you will loose the time. maybe its cruel but to sum up, if you will make this decision to grow up, make new friendships, know new culture you should leave your present life in your home city, go on your exchange and then spend the best year in your life with totally new people and on totally new rules with different conditions. it wont be always colorful, but you cant give up, never.

I cannot say when was the hardest part of my exchange. it was almost everyday hard. little problems were changing to bigger one, homesick, strange situations in school or home, i couldnt speak in my mother tongue language cause.. who speaks polish in Colombia? exactly, nobody. But you know what? I always tried to have fun from every situation. Of course there were millions that i couldnt do anything and the perspectives that i was there alone, without anybody who i can 100% trust ... yeah.. i dont have to finish this sentence. just imagine if you were me.
Maybe the hardest was like in april ? when i had to make the most serious decision, TO STAY OR TO GO. yeah.. i had this possibility to stay in Colombia forever. I could finish there my school with IB Program, then go to university but the only thing which kept me away from this decision was my family. if i stayed there, i dont know which relationship i would have with them after more years. ( i will tell you the story someday)

lets come back to SEPTEMBER.

when i found out that my host mom(grandma) is ill and we have to go to Bogota i got extremely happy because i could visit new place in Colombia ( but understanding that i am going to bogota took my mom like 20 min to explain me in spanish. it was really funny.. she was pretending plane, she showed me photos YOU-BOGOTA-MANANA, it really was funny) and we got there. we stayed there almost MONTH. it was enough long time to know the capital. we stayed at my host mom's daughter, whose daughter went to Warsaw ( it was exchange with me, i should stayed in Bogota, but my district to who i belong in Colombia didnt agree and they sent me to Cucuta ) we spent all together beautiful weeks. they showed me all monumets, shopping centers, cool restaurants... but despite of theirs trying to make me feel home i needed something else. it was a friend. or friends. i needed people in my age to talk, to spend time, to do stuff which i couldnt do with my hosts. So i met Sergio ( Hi, if you are reading this) we hanged out, it was awesome. He was one from not many friends who speaks english.  And actually we stayed friends untill now.
during this trip to Bogota i fall in love with my hosts. really, i felt like i am living with grandmother and grandfather but my second family is in Bogota( theirs daughter with her family) so from the beginning i knew thats gonna be perfect exchange. and it was.
Unfortunately one day i woke up and during the breakfast i found out that i have to switch my host family because my host mom is ill and she needs to stay longer in Bogota. Well, I cried and everybody did. during 2 months we sticked to each other so much. I didnt know what i should expect from my second family, who it will be, where i will live...i exactly remember this situation when my grandfather was calling to my another host dad to ask him if he can take me earlier ( the plan was to stay with second family from december) so they made a deal. during the same week i've met my sister, Silvia. she was 25, married, in pregnant. the hottest sis ever i could had :))) we have met, she speaks english cause she was an exchange student(twice) in england and usa. she was sooo relaxed, she was telling me about my future host family, about mom and dad and i couldnt believe when she said" my parents are soooo relaxed, you can going out, partying etc" I HAD STARS IN MY EYES. and it actually was as she said.
after 4 days i came back to Cucuta. to my new exchange students friends, to my school, to my rotary club and to my NEW FAMILY. I fall in love in house immediataly. my second family owns restaurants, beauty saloons so in 3 words i can say " heaven for me.
We were soooo good to each other. my host dad was laughing at me everytime, because of my punctuality. everytime when he was saying the hour i was ready, but in Colombia it doesnt happen at all.
for instance, if somebody invites you to the party at 8pm you should come like 9.30pm or even later.
Once when my friend told me to pick me up at 7.. of course i was ready at this time and he arrived at almost 10 !!!!!! what i was doing? sitting on stairs with phone in my hand.
hahaha but after short time i became really colombian and i knew how to act in different situations :)

my second and actually last family was really crazy. specially my THE BEST brother ever- Chiqui. oh my god, i love him so much. i really had the best siblings from the second family : Sergio, Chiqui, Silvia. I miss you guys.
just after 2 weeks i went to RETIROS. its like school trip, which takes 3 days. but it wasnt just school trip but trip with values. We talked about family and love. it moved me, i cried everyday, everybody cried.
The trip was in other, bigger city- Bucaramanga. it is well known, big city in Colombia. the first what we were doing was accomodation, food etc. after we really started our trip with emotional exercises. we had to lay down on a floor with closed eyes. teacher was reading some part of the life: mom giving birth, first birthday, christmas and generally happy moments... then he came to the bad ones like somebody's death, accidents etc. it was hard.
also during this trip we talked much about our feelings. everybody wrote list to somebody who hurted during life. people wrote about parents/boyfriends/friends. i wrote it too, but in polish to keep it only for myself. I remember when during our last night everybody got letters from theirs parents. everybody cried and i was looking at them and i realized how family and love is important in our lifes, no matter what. then my teacher came to me and gave me the letter, from MY parents, from Poland. it was amazing... i opened the envelope and i saw photos.. my parents keeping my little sister, my brother, my house, my room.. i couldnt stop crying. i missed them so much. that was probably the best experience and the biggest value. this trip showed me WHO ARE COLOMBIANS??? they are lovely people who love and respect each other. who always are ready to help. COLOMBIANS taught me loving and respecting my family, they showed me the importance of friends. I can say that this trip was one from few factors, which changed my life.

in this post i described you even half of october. another part will be about my crazy ALONE trip to bogota. actually.. when Chiqui ( my host bro) left me there and during "amazing" weekend i got robbed from my mobile phone and money. and i survived without speaking spanish. understanting YES, but no speaking :)

See you later, a l i g a t o r : )
typical, Colombian(fatty)meal

school, physical education

Bogota, from the left: Sandra, me, Sergio in museo del oro. amazing museum!
me, in "Candelaria" and main, the most famous place in Bogota

Monseratte. it is a church, very important and well know

RETIROS! and all my friends

retiros, and "funeral" -playing with our emotions

retiros, with  my friend David

my first family, aiport, cucuta.07.08.2013

Me in pyjama(sorry) and my second house

Monday, May 6, 2013

first month, August 2011

Hello everybody,
this is such a pleasure for me to share with all my memories with you all. Polish people can read everything from first impression, because I started writting this blog almost 2 years ago but now I would like to introduce everything without fresh emotions. From the beginning I underline that everything what I will write here is mine, my expressions, emotions, feelings. I do not judge Colombia, nor Poland. I dont want anybody to feel uncomfortable, if any of my impressions will be different.

Starting with the basic question. WHY COLOMBIA? well, honestly it wasnt my first choice. I always wanted to go to USA, spend one year of american dream, speak english fluency as my mother tongue and become a cheerleader. But.. as life is going on, everybody knows that sometimes you get something totally different than you suspected. and I am the person, who became the happiest one, just because ... knowing Shakira? sounds funny, but I guess that is the answer... BECAUSE SHAKIRA COMES FROM COLOMBIA. but I am explaining what exactly was going on. When I found out that Rotary 2230 didnt accept me to USA then I started to panic. It was my dream, which never will come true. Suddenly, I got another 5 offers :) Germany, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Indonesia. And what is worth to add, I had only 2 hours to make up my mind where I want to spend my year abroad. Shakira was on the top, with her song " rabiosa" ... I thought, WHY NOT COLOMBIA, I WILL MEET SHAKIRA. !!!!
and I went there, spent the most beautiful year of my life. People, which I've met are not only friends, but some of them became my family. I can even say that they helped me to grow up, somehow.

SO I GOT THERE !!!!! to Colombia. The country which is surrounded by rumors about drugs.  Before landing, when the plane was above the city I thought " you have one year  for having fun, know the culture and to make friendship forever" that was the only one what I was thinking about from the first step in Cucuta- Norte de Santander. It was like 50 people around me. 49 non english speaker, the only one person, Mardi from Namibia could talk with me. ( did i mention that i went to Colombia without knowing a word in spanish???? ) I met my first host family, I call them now grandmother and grandfather.
NOTE:  First family are always the most important. why? because they will say everybody who you are. its very important to understand, that exchange year ( lets say in South America) its not partying year. if you wanna party, then make a gap year and go to Ibiza. Exchange Year, its time in your life for grow up and after one year know what you want to achieve, its important to understand familiar values and to know who you really are.

first moments with my host family were really hard. I was homesick, as crazy. Almost nobody could speak english, during my period in school i was praying for having english and at least talk with teacher. it was really hard. going to LEDC, without knowing a language, without anyone. but who can do it better than you will do ???? thats my motto after my year there.

by the end of august another 10 exchange students came to Cucuta, so I didnt feel alone, but it didnt change the fact that i could come back home. I was closed home almost all the time, of course now i understand why my host parents didnt allow me to go out, but by that time i didnt. everything was about security, NATALIA IT IS NOT SAVE. i heard that thousand times. lets say, i spend almost one month on facebook/skype. and then came september, and my first trip to the capital of Colombia- BOGOTA. I will tell you everything about September in my next post. :)

What is important for you to know its something about ROTARY.
Rotary International is an organization of service clubs known as Rotary Clubslocated all over the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed or political preference. There are more than 32,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members world-wide. The members of Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Members usually meet weekly for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which is a social event as well as an opportunity to organize work on their service goals.

Rotary's best-known motto is "Service above Self", and its secondary motto is "They profit most who serve best."

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
2. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

This objective is further set against the "Rotarian four-way test", used to see if a planned action is compatible with the Rotarian spirit. The test was developed by Rotarian and entrepreneur Herbert J. Taylor during the Great Depression as a set of guidelines for restoring faltering businesses and was adopted as the standard of ethics by Rotary in 1942. It is still seen as a standard for ethics in business management:

* Is it the truth?
* Is it fair to all concerned?
* Will it build good will and better friendships?
* Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

The programs of Rotary are so diverse as to all but defy categorization.

In addition, there are the programs of The Rotary Foundation, which include educational, humanitarian and fellowship and vocational exchanges.

Some of Rotary's most visible programs include Rotary Youth Exchange, a student exchange program for students in secondary education, and the Rotary Foundation's oldest program, Ambassadorial Scholarships. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Lotnisko Warszawa-6.08.2011
Bogota-Cucuta 6.08.2011
Cucuta-everywhere in Colombia 2012/2012/20...
From today I decided to continue this blog in English. Not because I want to improve something but for (future) exchange students from all over the world. Another reason is my friends and family in Colombia. Despide of not having lot freetime i would like to describe everything in english, for them to Understand.
As some of you could notice, this blog is about my life in Colombia, which still lasts. Maybe not for the presence but in my mind. 
Everything has started on 6august2011 when I was a the Warsaw Chopin airport saying goodbye to my parents. With thus date my life had changed Like totally ..WHOLE life. I know I was describing my year in Colombia for last 2 years but now I will start with English. I meet too many people around who are not polish and who really want to know something about Colombia. There you are !! You are most than welcome to read all this knowledge I would like to give you. Because Colombia is passion, passion for the love. <br>

According to my memories, I would like to say to everybody who was presented during my time in Colombia H U G E THANK YOU. People are amazing, they really are. Beginning with my family, friends, further friends, people who were accompanying me... To everyone. Because YOU made me love Colombia, each of you.  By the end or maybe I should mention this in the beginning ... I would like to say how grateful I am for my parents .. If you are reading this now, I can say I LOVE YOU, without you I couldn't have this opportunity to be there and fall in love with everybody there, make new friendships, and having new family and o become the most happy person in the world. <br>

So, I will go with everything from the beginning, in English , with my deeply memories. 
So if you're planning to be next exchange student, then you should save this address and read it particulary. I will give you advices how to become good host kid, how to make new friendships  and what's the most important during all your year abroad, HOW TO NOT LOOSE TIME ON YOUR EXCHANGE YEAR.  How do I know? I survived everything, from the most boring family party to the most crazy MY goodbye party, which was recorded by at least 600 people.  <br> 

Ps sorry for my English, it's not my mother tongue <br>

Hasty luego!!! <br>
 Natalia Skotnicka ( la Poloca)