Daily Life Field Note: Nicolás
I was fortunate enough to sit down with one of my boss’ children, Nicolás, to find out more about what daily life is like here in Bucaramanga! Although everyone knows him as Nicolás, or “Nico” for short, his full name is Oscar Nicolás Bautista Inés – that’s quite a mouthful, right? Almost everyone in Latin America have a first and middle name, but also their mother’s and father’s last names! For example, my name is Kerry Kathleen Burns, but before my mother married my father her last name was “Chappelle.” If I were born in a Latin American country, my full name would be “Kerry Kathleen Burns Chappelle.” Cool, right? It’s kind of similar to linking two last names with a hyphen.
Back to Nicolás! He lives in the city of Bucaramanga in a neighborhood called San Alonso with his mother, father and two older sisters. Here in the city it is rare that you own a house, so like the majority of people, Nicolás lives in an apartment on the sixth floor of his building. He is lucky enough to have his own room, but his sisters, Alba and Caterina, have to share! He describes his apartment as comfortable but he prefers to be outside! Wouldn’t you, if the weather was like summer all year round?
Hearing him talk about his family makes it clear that he loves them very much. Family is incredibly important here in Colombia. Something cool about Nicolás’ family is that his mom is actually a teacher at the school he studies at! It’s not too far away so they walk there in the morning. If they’re running late they can jump in a taxi or ask his sister Alba to drive them in her car. Nico prefers comfortable clothes that he can play in, but at school he is required to wear a uniform. In fact, all the schools (K-12) here in Bucaramanga require the students to wear uniforms. Do you wear uniforms at your schools?
When Nicolás is dismissed from school he rushes home to finish his homework so that he has time to play. He loves all sports but his favorite is soccer. He also practices taekwondo three times a week! He looks so great in his taekwondo robe, and he told me that his technique is improving quickly.
Nico speaks Spanish as his first language. “Hello” in Spanish is something I’m sure you already know! Hola! Additionally, he is taking classes in English and in French. In fact, he is even teaching English to his pet cockatiel named Luna (which means “Moon” in English)!
He has done a little bit of traveling around Colombia, but the farthest he’s been, and his favorite place, is Santa Marta, a beautiful town located on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. His favorite memories of Santa Marta include swimming in the warm water and drinking coconut milk right from the fruit! Nico is very interested in the United States and wants to visit some day. He told me his first stop would be New York! I asked him why, and he said that New York looks like the most exciting place in the world! Imagine that! He is also curious what kind of music you like to listen to, and if you could recommend him any good songs or artists! Who knows, maybe one day you might just run into him in the city.