Hi friends! Long time no talk. I’ve been pretty busy with little projects and things and then, I spent the last 8 days with my family! I was so lucky to have them come visit. It was an amazing week. Wanna hear about it? I hope so because that’s really all I’ve got for this blog.
They arrived on a Friday and were brave enough to make the journey to the pueblo. After a wild bus ride, complete with broken seats and being trapped in the aisle by a washing machine, we arrived to a small town about 30 minutes away from Repelón (the mother town of my little pueblo, Michael’s site and where we were staying since my house cannot accommodate 3 extra visitors). I didn’t want to wait for the bus and I also wanted my brothers to have an authentic experience so we piled into a little motocarro (a motorized tricycle with a seat attached to the back). We were crammed in there like sardines and my poor mother was a great sport and sat on the floor. We dropped off our stuff at Michael’s house and then hopped into another motocarro to head to Rotinet. My brother had his eyes closed the whole journey and said he felt like Paris Hilton on the “Simple Life” and was imagining he was somewhere else. As you can see, drama runs in the family. After a quick tour, they were ready to leave and start the festivities. You see, Repelón was celebrating its annual patron saint festival and Luke was eager to watch some drunk Colombians run around and fight a bull and everyone wanted a few Costeñitas before the vallenato concert that night. Some other volunteers came for the festival and my family got to meet some of my PCV family as well as my new Colombian friends. It was a great night but the gringos tapped out early and hit the hay at about 1am but the party went well into the morning.
After experiencing the pueblo, the family was ready for some R&R. We went to Cartagena (we hired someone from the pueblo to take us, my mom couldn’t stand the thought of getting back on that bus). I had found an apartment online to rent and the posting title was “nice apartment near the beach” and they did not lie. This apartment was HUGE and my mom and I were thrilled that we didn’t have to share a room or a bathroom with my stinky brothers because, as every lady knows, boys are gross. It even had a full kitchen and my mom cooked up some of my favorites: nachos, seafood pasta and mac&cheese. We spent the week exploring downtown Cartagena, relaxing poolside, drinking coffee and hanging out at the beach. We explored the old fortress that protected the city hundreds of years ago and watched a sunset from the famous wall. It was the perfect vacation until it ended.
Friday night I tossed and turned in my bed because I was so anxious at the idea of my family leaving me here for another 16 months. All Saturday morning I felt like there was a brick on my chest and I couldn’t catch my breath. We took a taxi and the second we pulled up to the airport, my mom burst into tours. I tried to stay calm but the second the driver pulled away, I started to cry and I spent the 15 minute ride to the bus stop fighting the urge to tell him to turn around and take me back so I could climb into my brother’s suitcase (or more realistically have my mommy buy me a one way ticket home). I really had no idea I was so codependent-it’s kind of embarrassing . I decided I couldn’t face going to my pueblo so I hopped a bus back to Barranquilla where I stayed in the hotel for one more night of AC and, more importantly, privacy while I got out all the tears and tried to convince myself that I can stay here for the next year and a half.
I gorged myself on chocolate and a marathon of Law and Order SVU until I passed out. Today I woke up, still not ready to come back but I grit my teeth, checked out of the hotel and trekked down to the south side of town to wait for the bus. I spent over an hour waiting in the sun, ignoring the obnoxious cat-callers and thinking “what in the hell am I doing here?” Unfortunately, I quickly fell back into my spoiled, diva habits during my week hiatus in paradise and even briefly considered hiring a car to take me home. I mean how ridiculous is that? As if any normal citizen needs a private chauffeur service let alone a Peace Corps volunteer. Luckily, my good pal MC stayed on the phone with me for an hour while I complained about the heat, the wait and the endless stream of “compliments****”. At one point I even said “I hate everywhere and everyone. I will probably die here on this corner waiting for the bus.” Remember, I’m never lacking the drama. However, about 30 seconds after my pathetic mental breakdown, a nice young man came up and asked if I was going to Repelón. I said yes and he grabbed my bag and said come with me. Ok, stranger danger is real and I know that but I was desperate. Thank goodness he led me to where the bus was waiting a couple blocks of way. He found me a spot in the shade and said to wait here, we would be leaving in a couple of minutes. I asked how he knew where I was going and he said he recognized me from when I rode the bus a couple of months ago (thank you, blonde hair!)
Finally, for the first time in over 24 hours I felt like I could breathe. This tiny gesture reminded me that this is my home, even though it doesn’t always feel like it, this is where I belong. This feeling was only solidified when a little girl fell asleep on my shoulder during the bus ride and again when I got into town and was immediately invited over for beers at a neighbor’s house (I declined as I figure I need a couple days of detox from vacay).
As my friend MC says “we’re going to be fine, we have to be.” Sure it sucked having to say good bye to my family but I am privileged enough to have had the opportunity to see them. Many volunteers aren’t as lucky. While I wish it was a little cooler, that we had running water and that there weren’t bugs crawling on me as I write this, I am more privileged than I’ll ever be able to realize.
It’s back to the grind tomorrow and next week I’m off to the mountains for a week long girl’s camp…more details to come. Happy Father’s Day to all the awesome dads out there and a special shoutout to my daddy who makes it possible for me to follow my dreams. Love you all and thanks for reading!
*Catcalls are NEVER compliments. If you think this, you are wrong. Fact. Just don’t do it. I cannot stress this enough.
In case you haven’t realized it yet, besides the fact I speak Spanish and live in a tiny village in Colombia, I am your stereotypical white girl. As further proof, I give you my stereotypical girl power song that I’ve listened to about 78 times in the past 36 hours. Thanks to John for fueling my passion for power ballads featuring strong female singers. But seriously, listen to this if you need a pick me up.