What will the inocentes miss the most?

5 Jun

I’ve made some attempts to make lists of things I will be looking forward to when I return state-side (mostly food) and Colombian things that will keep me pining for Medellín (mostly food). But now that we’re really leaving (really, really leaving) I think it’s time to put a little more thought into this.

  • Weather. Getting dressed here is a no-brainer. Despite growing up in Southern California, I’ve been dazzled by just how perfect the weather can be. During the 8 months of the year when it’s not the rainy season, every day is the same: perfect, bright sunshine with big fluffy white clouds. And, of course, even during the rainy season the weather never dips below 70. The sweatshirt I brought was a complete waste of space.
  • Thunder & lightning (weather 2.0). Again, didn’t grow up in an area where there is a lot of rain or lightning. But during the rainy season (October-November, April-May) the storms are epic. Thunder, lightning, swaths of the city blocked out by clouds. It’s awesome, if a little humbling.
  • Clouds (weather 3.0). Rainy days with 100% cloud cover are the same, everywhere: gloomy and dark. But sunny days with partially cloudy skies are fantastic for cloud-gazing. All types of clouds–from the high and wispy to the bright and fluffy–mixed together against cerulean sky; dramatic contrasts that are best viewed from the hammock on our balcony as they float on by. Even those walls of rain that move across the valley and periodically block out parts of the city are pretty sublime, momentarily erasing mountains and buildings.
  • Our barrio, Carlos E. Whenever we decide to head downstairs and grab a michelada it’s a given that we’ll run into at least 5 people we know. Sometimes a quick beer turns into a big group event, with friends stopping by to catch up.
  • The Sunday Singer. Our neighbor, with whom we are not acquainted, seems like a pretty normal, button-downed guy. We typically only interact when waiting for the elevator, but he’s always very polite. In general, he’s very quiet…except every once in awhile, on Sundays. On those days, he blasts vallenato and sings. his. heart out. It would be one thing if he was a great singer, but he sounds more in the line of Sloth, of Goonies fame. It always makes for a pretty entertaining Sunday.
  • OK, so any singers (and dancers!). There is this really amazing thing that happens in Colombia when music plays: people sing and dance. Also, they sometimes do it without the music playing, singing when the mood strikes them. Saturday afternoon at the bar with your friends? There’s going to be some singing. The cab driver? There will be some singing. Random person walking down the street? Probably about to break into song. At first it was a little awkward to lock eyes with someone singing on his or her own in the absence of music, but they always smile or wink and keep on their merry way. And the dancing? The best way to describe Colombia is this: at any moment things are on the verge of breaking into a full-scale musical.
  • The scenery from all vantage points. From our apartment, the mountains surrounding the valley look like paintings, the homes that dot the mountainside like perfect little miniature models. While many cities seem divorced from nature, Medellín is one of those rare places where nature and urban development coexist throughout every barrio. On the many bus rides we’ve taken to different parts of the country, there have been some wildly stunning vistas: drives along riversides, through the jungle, up misty mountains and overlooking verdant valleys, below. Lakes, ponds, trees, birds and flowers like you would not believe.
  • Our apartment on the 18th floor, the nicest apartment in which we’ve lived. Windows all around, light from all sides and just as airy as you please. Space for friends, space for privacy and space for living. And the views. THE VIEWS! *sigh*, the views…
  • Being guides to our friends and family who have visited us, and having a chance to share this special place with them in-person and with people who couldn’t make the trip down to see us through our blogs. There’s very little “good” that the media conveys about Colombia in the US; only the most sensational stories typically make the headlines. While Colombia is not without its problems, things are changing; things have changed. It’s been our pleasure to try to convey the good that comes out of Colombia, to add some small insight into our personal experiences and show what it looks like to two very foreign gringos.
  • The magic of Colombia. You guys, this place is magic. Really, truly magical. And believe me, I would love to distance myself from any hints at “magical realism” that dogs Latin American literature (and by extension, its culture) in both good and bad ways…but, there’s…something here. There’s something to it. The people, the land, the shared heritage; it’s remarkable. It’s Macondo. It’s special.

Okay, it’s getting sad listing these things. There’s a lot we’re going to miss, and the friends we’ve made are really woven throughout the list above, as they’ve been an integral part to our assimilation here, and have introduced us to many new things (drinks, places, food, dances, etc). We’re really excited to come home, but I think you can tell that what we’re giving up is something pretty special.

*SIGH*, OK USA, see ya tomorrow!

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3 Responses to “What will the inocentes miss the most?”

  1. Mari Jarivs June 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Have a safe trip home. I’ll miss your blogs. You’ve shared your bitter-sweet feelings so well, even I feel some melancholy as you’re leaving! But I predict with yours and Greg’s thirst for life, you will always be meeting and coming back to many people and many adventures. I imagine your Colombian friends will be lonesome for you for a long long time. Even the vendors… ‘I wonder whatever happened to that tall handsome friendly guy with the red hair who was always good for 2000 p and that beautiful girl with the warm smile and joyful laughter’. Colombia will miss you. (I’m feeling sad for Medellin!)

  2. Lea Anthony June 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Oh so damn bittersweet! It sounds like you will always remember these images. We followed your journey tru the blog, but being there in person trumps it.

    The people you met there will not forget the cheerful, beautiful gringos…you can be sure of that!

    So you will come home to the sound of peacocks and wind chimes, and a peek at the Pacific.

    Anxious to love on you both, Mom

  3. Lea Anthony June 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    We hav a fun place for you to visit…Rock and Brews where Mike works. Very unique giant gastro pub iin the tiny rather hidden away little town of El Segundo. Kind of a thro back to another time.

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