First impressions of Medellin from a digital nomad couple

Streets of Medellin

Streets of Medellin

The first week at our first real nomadic stopover already passed – time runs already.

The main activity I think was getting comfortable. We actually haven’t seen much of the city yet, did many tours or met new exciting people every day. But we did get a grip on working in our new apartment, going out to get some food, finding groceries and some other stores we needed – and we are learning Spanish as much as we can every day. So our every-day life as nomads is starting to settle in.


Our apartment in Medellin

What we definitely know best so far is our home. We live in a great apartment, with actually two bedrooms (one only occupied by empty suitcases) and a big living area. It was important to have a table to work from, as many small apartments we found only had a counter with bar stools. Having both, like here, is actually perfect, but we would have settled for just the table as well. 😉 The couch is also really comfortable, to have some quiet chill out time there. So, we are really happy with what we found.
The best part though probably is the pool on the roof, which offers a great view over Medellin, the small fitness area on the top floor and the location of the complex itself. It’s located right in the center of El Pablado, which is the main area of town for tourists, business and, well, security. But also offers bars, shopping, etc. So, we are just right in the middle. It has it’s price, but as being new to everything here, that comes quite handy.

View of Medellin from our building

View of Medellin from our building


We only met very nice people so far. Not that we have many contacts here yet, but everybody is super friendly and tries with us to get through the Spanish sentences. And, a huge plus I didn’t expect: even though I am blond and Con is asian, we don’t get any unwanted or annoying attention when on the streets. So far, this is only the experience of touristy areas, but it is pleasant and helps to enjoy being here, as we are just blending in, even though we certainly don’t look Columbian.
As for communication – that is a daily struggle. But we are managing and improving constantly. We did make it to buy food, SIM-Cards, order at restaurants and even understood quite a lot of an all Spanish tour. So we’re getting there. And at least twice a day, we sit down, work on our apps, write down important sentences and then try using that as soon as we leave the house. And it does work, even though the process is still slow.

Trying to learn a language with apps and online programs may sound weird or even wrong to many. I was skeptical too. But I have to say, for now I feel like I learn quite a lot. We concentrate on two services: Duolingo and Memrise. They teach us words and sentences, and we have to type, find the right word in lists, listen and speak. You learn about grammar mostly by the sentences, which is fine as for now the perfect grammar is non of our goals yet. We will see how far we get with them, but it’s definitely a good start.
And we try to make up conversations between us ans look them up, write them down, just to get into the hang of lining up words. Additionally, we started watching Pablo Escobar, a Netflix series, in Spanish (with subtitles), and it does help to get used to the sounds of the language and to understand a sentence here and there, while learning about this figure. A name I guess almost the whole world knows, but I hardly know what actually happened here.
Our way of learning is not the same than actually using the language and speaking to people every day. But it’s what we can do when at home.

What I still find hard to get adjusted to, is the fact to constantly consider how to stay safe. I’m not scared when I walk outside of being robbed, but I miss just pulling my phone or my camera out to get a snapshot of something. Well, I miss just bringing them with me whenever I want. There is just always an slight insecurity when having expensive stuff with us. The neighborhood is safe, but you still shouldn’t provoke anything. That for now is the toughest part.


First Columbian dish

First Columbian dish: Bandeja Paisa

But for sure, we also left the house and experienced parts of Medellin. Most of the days, we get lunch or dinner at some place around here. This way, we leave the house, have to speak some Spanish and try local food. So far, that is really delicious! Lots if rice and beans – which I both like – always this super fresh and yummy avocados and tomatoes… I’m happy with it.

And there are the fruits. Everything is fresh and not only can you get is as fruit, but almost everywhere they sell fresh juice – orange, strawberry (my favorites), mango, etc. So good 🙂

Though, what is disappointing, is the coffee. Not only do we have a pretty bad coffee machine in our kitchen, but Columbia focusses its coffee production on export and they are not a coffee culture themselves. One of the main chains that we were told had pretty good coffee, was worse than most other chains I know. So, we are still on the look for that… But we will find some solutions… And as long as this is our biggest every-day problem, I think we are quite fine…

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  1. Papa 22. April 2016 at 22:16 #

    Hallo Anna,

    der erste schon ersehnte Bericht – Gratulation! Ihr habt ja -Gott sei Dank- wohl einen guten Start! Wir freuen uns für euch und sind auf weitere Berichte über eure Erfahrungen gespannt.
    Beim Thema essen waren wir ganz kurz überrascht – dass du auf einmal frisches Obst liebst!

    Weiterhin ein gutes Eingewöhnen und Verwöhnen, Zufriedenheit, Neugier, Gesundheit, Pläne und eine gute Balance zwischen Arbeit und Erforschen!

    Ganz liebe Grüße an euch,
    dein Papa


    • anna 23. April 2016 at 3:43 #

      Ich liebe frisches Obst – nur halte ich persönlich mich eben an die Äpfel, Erdbeeren, Avocado und Orangen 😉


  2. Erica 28. April 2016 at 1:15 #

    Look! Meat, rice, beans! 😉


    • anna 28. April 2016 at 1:18 #

      Yes, you even get rice and beans when ordering at KFC. Your warning definitely came true. Lucky us, we like the combo 😀


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