There may be a longer post for this one day, but until then….
Spending my last hours in Colombia drinking coffee at a Juan Valdez in the airport, following a major turned minor travel kerfluffle. It wouldn’t be a true Tiffany trip if there wasn’t some hiccup somewhere. But this trip has been filled with hiccups, but they’ve also been blessings. My plan to Brazil was thwarted by visa issues, but that led me to saving my dear friend Janelle from making the same mistake. It would take too long to recount the others, but they have each taught me how to persevere with grace and resilience. In the wake of the unexpected – breathe, assess, act. Read thoroughly beforehand and make sure that cutting corners in one place won’t leave you free falling at a later date.
I had no idea what to expect when I came to Colombia. I knew there would be dancing and coffee and maybe some chocolate. And I got all that and more. I got to reconnect with old friends from France, make some new friends, and carve out little niches all around the country. As big as Colombia is, it feels very small now. Not quite home, but home-y. Meeting up with friends from Bogota in Medellín and Cali, walking into a restaurant in Cali and seeing your other friends from Medellín while you share a meal with your dance friends from Bogotá. Walking into a café in Popayan and seeing the guy who slept in the hostel bed next to yours from Cali. Walking down the street in Bogotá and randomly running into the Black girl you had met at the café a few days before, cementing what would be one of my favorite friendships of this trip.
During these 4 months, I got some kizomba and even zouk practice in while in the country of salsa. I traveled to the coffee farm of one of the few Afro-Colombian coffee farmers. I protested in the streets with the resilient people of Chocó. I rode down the Atrato river basking in its beauty and its peril as mining continues to pollute the river. I climbed through a tree to get an amazing view of a waterfall after an hour and a half horseback through the mountains. I rode a Disney trolley through an Antioquian pueblo and felt like a star for 10 minutes. I argued feminism and aid vs. Action in development over coffee. I watched in awe at the beauty of the diaspora in Carnival with a face caked of corn flour and hair full of foam. I danced wildly to dancehall on top of a yacht in Cartagena with dear friends from college. I sang End of the Road loudly and off key more times than I probably should have. I slept late and worked even later. I cried as my relationship crumbled. I moaned as I worked through a heat stroke/food poisoning in Barranquilla. I danced salsa in Cali at Tin Tin Deo. I trudged through endless rainy days in Medellín. I have moved past my fear of sharing my personal writing. I spent many days alone with my computer. I spent many days in cafés. I turned up to Future and Migos at a restaurant in Poblado. I fell in love with coffee though I despised it on arrival. And best of all, I made it through Colombia without having to take a shot of Aguardiente.
Thank you to everyone who made the beauty of Colombia even better.