The Expat Life

mountain view
The mountain view from my apartment
The mountain view from my apartment

During my first six months in Medellin, I was peppered with one question over and over again. What do you do with yourself every day?

My eyes always lit up at the question, because I would then rattle off a list of things I’d still want to do, even if I were independently wealthy (which I’m not).

In 2009, my expat life in Medellin consisted of the following:

All against the backdrop of a lush, semi-tropical city in the mountains.

This year, with only two weeks to spare, I’ve had to compress a hectic mix of work, networking, and having fun.

Complimentary nibbles at Carmen
Complimentary nibbles before the first course at Carmen

To give you a feel for what I mean, here’s a 24 hour sample from my visit to Medellin in August:

6:50 PM Saturday – Stop by a Dynamite Circle meeting at La Bolsa bar to quickly say hi to some location independent professionals, both living here already, or having just arrived.

7:00 PM – Dinner at Carmen, one of the top restaurants in Medellin. Work my way through a 5-course tasting menu, with the fifth course being its own tasting menu of six deserts (review coming soon). Aware that I’ll be writing about the meal on this blog, Carmen, the chef/owner stops by my table to chat and answer any questions.

10:00 PM – Full on food coma. I decide to retire early for the night.

Rooftop pool
Rooftop pool (I could get use to this)

10:00 AM Sunday – Go for a swim on my apartment building’s rooftop pool, with sweeping views of the entire metropolitan area.

11:30 AM – Devour leftover mac ‘n cheese with chicken from the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, which I’d visited the day before in order to write about on the blog.

12:30 PM – Meet Martha, an active member of the Medellin Living Facebook page, at the Zoologico de Santa Fe. I’d heard mixed reviews, but wanted to visit and see it for myself before passing any judgement (review coming soon).

2:00 PM – Meet Jessica, a former contributor, at a bar on La 70 to catch up after being away for the last 12 months.

5:00 PM – Return to apartment, and get some new writing for the blog done. I’m always more inspired to write about Medellin and Colombia when I’m here.

Of course this is just a day in my life. I recognize there’s more to Medellin than Poblado, but hey, that’s where I prefer to base myself. I’ve also lived in Envigado, and have plenty of friends who prefer Laureles.

One thing is certain, every expat’s daily life is governed by his/her studies, work, budget, and hobbies.

If you got a kick out of my average day, then here are a few others who’ve also written about expat life in Medellin:

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  1. Thanks for the shout out Dave! I had the same question all the time, so I decided to take my camera with me everywhere for a day and take pictures of what I may have seen as “mundane” at the time, but was actually really cool.

  2. “I recognize there’s more to Medellin than Poblado, but hey, that’s where I prefer to base myself.”

    Exactly, that’s the beautiful thing about Medellín, there’s always a neighborhood for everyone and every budget. I myself, as you know Dave, am a Campo Valdez/Manrique kind of guy and wouldn’t trade them for El Poblado even if I had the money. I lived in the Poblado/Envigado area years ago and it’s just not my style.

    It’s always cool when you return to Medallo, giving me the opportunity to read up on your rockstar-like lifestyle and as always good to see you in person.

  3. At last you you gonna do a review about “Carmen” Dave, I’ll be curious to read that. For me it’s the best restaurant of Medellin! I’m sure you had a wonderful experience!

  4. Hi Dave, My husband and are I are relocating to Medillin this coming September. I am looking forward to finding a good gym with free weights and some cardio equip. Can you suggest a reasonable work out gym. I am not about frills and we are on fixed budget. Speaking of which, do you think $2000 USD/mo will be okay for a modest lifestyle and 2/bd 2ba apartment?
    I know I am sounding naïve.. Nick