Last summer I went back to Colombia after 4 years. Yes, four years of flight cancellations due to Covid-19. People couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen my family for such a long time, it sounds mad when I see my British family almost every weekend. I guess technology works in my favour and change is an active part of my life. The excuse of doing a 1-year English course abroad ended up with a countryside life, a husband, 2 daughters, 0 pets, and plenty of trains to London to keep up with all the happening.
Traveling to Colombia was about rediscovering culture, for me. For my kids, it was an introduction. A welcome to many traditions, arepas for breakfast, exotic fruits and hugs from people that I love: Tolosa & Orozco families, neighbours, school, Uni friends, the cousin of my cousin… a friend of my friend… and the circle keeps growing. If you have seen any Latin American soap opera you know the family tree is extensive and there is always drama. We had tantrums and happy days and after all, I stick to the positive feedback from my girls: “Abue is the best artist” and “Papi is the best babysitter”, as my Dad let them do whatever they wanted to do”.
I had a lively time, lively with an i. Unlike many travelers seeking peace and quiet, I was looking for noise. I traveled to Santa Marta and enjoyed listening to loud music, usually vallenato, sounding from different houses on the same block, competing next to each other. You might not have the prettiest house in the neighborhood but you always have the greatest sound system, know your priorities! I didn’t avoid the sellers at the beach, their unique selling points and taglines were very creative and keep evolving with the market. Necklaces, cover-ups, fruits for breakfast, beers at sunset and any item you need or might not need were advertised including apps and mobile payments in the speech, marketing lessons from a sun lounger.
What’s more, I looked for imperfection and contrast, streets can change 180 degrees just around the corner. We have real third-world problems and an amazing ability to overcome obstacles. It made me realize how generous you can be with so little and how positive you can be against all the odds. We like our chaos and at the same time, we like to work hard to change it. We don’t complain either, you should meet my Dad, the funniest man in the world, beating cancer and turning the page like it was a simple flu. Positivity is inherited in my family.
In addition, I liked being around crowds. Every day we met someone and went somewhere. I kept thinking I was doing it for my girls but the truth is I love meeting people, sharing stories, catching up, laughing at silly things and creating new memories. I find beauty in diversity, and have friends with nothing in common, apart from a phone call from Martha.
The summary here apart from I’m the opposite of going on a relaxing holiday haha is…
“It’s always good to remember where you come from and celebrate it. To remember where you come from is part of where you’re going.” -Anthony Burgess
I wanted to write a different final paragraph but the sentence above triggered the writer in me, it is the reason I decided to start this post and you always need to remember where you come from.