Farewell ColombiaPosted: June 25, 2014
We’ve been saying our goodbyes for a few weeks and we are down to our last 2 days in Colombia. Thanks to friends who have already departed for summer vacation, we get to leave in style, staying in their lovely apartment with a bathtub the size of a swimming pool, an Xbox, gorgeous mountain views and an espresso machine. Thanks Lisa and Iain! Colombia is in a very good mood after their first world cup wins in 16 years and we are feeling tranquilo. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. The next two days will test our ability to remain calm and handle the no and que pena con usted (what a pity for you) that usually accompanies our attempts to accomplish anything here. Information gathering and multiple backup plans are in place. Now, let’s see how much of Colombia has rubbed off on us… my motto for the next few days and weeks, maybe forever, is tranquila. Relax, lady.
In preparation for our departure, I have been enjoying the beauty of Medellin and trying to do all the things we hadn’t gotten around to doing yet. Now that I’ve done most of them, the city is starting to feel pretty small. I have a long list of things I’m sad about leaving, and an equally long list of things I’m happy to leave behind. Overall this has been an amazing experience and it feels like it’s ending at the right time. But that’s just me. Here’s how I think the rest of us are handling our imminent departure:
We were waiting for the US World Cup game to start the other day and Sam said, “I like Colombia more than the Estados Unidos.” That pretty much sums up his attitude right now. He has spent about half his life here and he is feeling very Colombian. He was fully immersed in Spanish every day at school and is the most bilingual of all of us. He says things like “how do you say rompecabeza in English?” When we told him we were leaving he gave Andrew all the pesos in his BanColombia piggy bank so we could stay (and almost made a grown man cry). Aiden has been helpfully talking up all the fun things back home, so Sam is slowly warming up to the idea of moving to ‘Koma Park. But he says he would like to come back to Colombia later, to live for the rest of his life.
Andrew loves Colombia more than almost anyone I know. He loves the things paisas love; mountains, horseback riding, eating copious amounts of meat. He has been known to say he wants to live here forever. Such passion, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his love affair has ended just as passionately. He has started to lash out in frustration, every time we drive, wait in line, try to pay a bill, or lose our phone service again, he raises his fist in the air and curses Colombians for being their own worst enemies. He is still forging ahead with his plans to start a biofuels company here, so he hasn’t given up on Colombia completely. I know Andrew will be here again one day, probably soon, riding a horse in the countryside, Club Colombia in one hand, giant piece of grilled meat in the other.
I have learned a lot about Aiden over these past two years and have been continually impressed by his adaptability, optimism, and ability to make friends wherever he goes. And like the rest of it, he has handled this change really well. He was so sad the day he had to say goodbye to his friends and his teacher, but then he started looking ahead to the next phase. He planned out his perfect day back home, which includes playing with the next-door neighbor in the back yard, going to the zoo, dinner at his favorite sushi place and a little more backyard time before bed. He’s excited about going to the cottage in Canada and to the beach at the Jersey Shore, which he says he loves equally.
We’re so excited to see family and friends, and most of us are looking forward to going back home. We will really miss Colombia, although we’ll probably be ready for a break after these next two days. And we’ll be back. Tranquila.