The inocentes, winding down

22 Apr

And time keeps flying on.

We have less than a month and a half left here in Medellín. It is both galvanizing (let’s do something NOW!) and sort of overwhelming to the point of paralysis.

Before we came, people suggested we write down what we expected to find when we got here so that we could compare notes at the very end of the trip; a chance to see how close or far from the mark we would come.

But really, it was an impossible task. We had no idea what we would expect to encounter. I had no idea. I looked at pictures of the city, I memorized the Wikipedia page and could spout off facts that might make my family more confident (“did you know that it’s called the ‘city of eternal spring’?”, “did you know it’s the first city in South America to have an above-ground metro system?”, “parques biblioteca!”, “flowers!”). But faceless facts do not a well-rounded impression make.

When I say I had no idea what I’d encounter, I mean it to the very fiber of my being. I didn’t even know if we would make it past customs. As we checked in for our flight to Fort Lauderdale at LAX, the Spirit Airlines representative scanned through all the rules and regulations after he learned that we didn’t have a return ticket. “Ok guys, it says that your entry could be denied. So we can try to book a ticket for you right now, or you can chance it that they will be lenient with that ‘could’.”

I spent the red-eye in a terrible, half-waking nightmare of nervousness,  convinced that we needed to book a refundable ticket during our layover in Fort Lauderdale, sure that we would be depleting the emergency fund we had set aside to get us on our feet while trying to find work in Medellín.

The lady at the Forth Lauderdale counter made our decision for us when she told us that Spirit wouldn’t book us a refundable ticket. It was 6AM, I was running on no sleep and was a ball of mewling paranoia. Even when we were en route to Medellín, flying over the Caribbean, I figured that it was only a two and a half hour ride; we would be doing it later that day back to Miami, and it wasn’t so bad. It would be a blow to my ego to get denied at customs, get yelled at, apprehended and shipped back home. I would have to call my parents, who would definitely rub it in my face. “Terrible plan. Terrible. Just awful.” But even though it would be tough, it was the worst that could happen (and it was probably going to happen).

And then we were in customs inching through the line. I tried to keep my nerves in check, sure that appearing like a criminal (paranoid & sweating) wasn’t going to help my case. I rehearsed what I was going to say, thinking of all the ways that the customs agent might ask me what my business in Colombia was. I tried to gauge whether or not to relate my intentions in broken, gringa Spanish or just play up the “helpless lady” angle. We were definitely going to play up the honeymoon; that was a given. I looked at the faces of each agent as we snaked along, sure that I could discern which agent was going to be “by the book” and which was going to be more lenient.

After a lifetime, we were face to face with the agent. He asked why we were in Colombia (“too-ree-smo!” I dumbly smiled), and then he did something great: he just stamped away. “Luna de miel!” I interjected, grabbing Greg’s arm, thinking that I really needed to lay it on thickly to seal the deal, as if he wasn’t already writing in our 60-day tourist pass and sending us on our merry way to get our baggage.

All of this is to say: I wasn’t able to anticipate what we would find here because not only did I have no idea what I would be faced with, I had very little faith that we would actually get past customs in the first place. Unimaginative and completely lacking in faith. Nice, right?

So what we encountered: fruit carts filled with goodness that roll right through your neighborhood and evenings with weirdly shocking sunset lighting (and sometimes also rainbows).

OK, now back to seizing the day &tc.

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One Response to “The inocentes, winding down”

  1. Lea Anthony April 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    No, we would not rub it in your face. Stuff happens……..just glad you had a good time and many great adventures. Hard to pick the favorite time for sure. We look forward to hearing the favorites after you have had time to look back and mentally thumb thru them.

    If I had to pick my favorite England visit, it would have to be the VRBO penthouse apt stay. Great to not stay in a hotel all the time.

    Stay well and enjoy your remaining time in SA.

    KISSES, Mom

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