Last Friday my husband landed in Bogotá, and with his arrival, the last week of our vacation in Colombia started. When I picked him up at the airport I asked how his layover in Panama City went. “No problems baby“, he answered completely relaxed as he landed 30 minutes before schedule.
Do you want to know my experience? No AC at the concourse where our connection gate was, an hour delay to board, and last but not least, a 30 minute wait inside the airplane with my cranky and sleepy four year old. The line of aircrafts on the runway looked like a Wal-Mart on Black Friday! Anyways, my hubby made it safe and sound; my son got his wrestling buddy back, and I got my soul mate as well.
Looking back at the past three weeks, they were more than time off from my life in the States. They were a time to reminisce; to relive what used to be my life. While doing that, I had the chance to analyze the involuntary behaviors that surface naturally when situations arise. For example, the next day after my arrival in Bogotá, I took my Grandma’s car to go shopping. The moment I put the key into the ignition, I couldn’t help to transform into a road rage driver!
To give you a clear analogy, think about a Bagladeshi NYC taxi driver. You might not know it, but my city is home to almost eight million people. Therefore, traffic in Bogotá is one of the worst in the world competing with cities like Los Angeles, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City.
Another natural behavior I recognized was the physical need to dance. If it has a good beat, I can dance to a radio ad! Since I was four years old, my aunts and uncles taught me to dance salsa, merengue, vallenato, porro, cumbia, and more. I grew up in a family of dancing stars. Therefore, when I was 15 I was voted cheer captain of my high school because of my dancing aptitude.
Let me clarify, cheering in Colombia doesn’t include gymnastics like in the US. If that was the case, I would have broken my clavicles while attempting to do a cart wheel.
Those memories from childhood, made my mom and I organize a little party to welcome my husband –the perfect excuse—and dance to all my favorite oldies on Saturday evening. We hired a group of musicians and everybody shook their bodies for five straight hours. The shots of tequila were king of the night, and even the most reluctant guests ended up making the toasts and calling drivers to take them home. In Colombia, the insurance companies provide this service as part of the auto policies.
The next morning, my husband couldn’t recall how many drinks he had. I didn’t wake up hangover but I did limp to the bathroom when I got out of bed. I danced so much that my hip and knee joints ached like hell.
When I was in college, I used to go out from Thursday until Saturday –and even Sunday night if the next Monday was a holiday– and my joints never ached this way. It really sucks to get older.
Later in the day, we had lunch at my Grandma’s and spent the rest of the afternoon. Then, I started thinking about how much my little guy is going to miss having so many people kissing him and hugging him every time we get together. I guess he is going to have to settle for Rusty and Sasha’s jumps and licks when we get home.
This weekend I taught myself a lesson. I got to realize that no matter how much I try to become a better person, there are traits that made me who I was, and still make me who I am. I caught my relatives looking at me and I think they were saying “She hasn’t changed a bit!”
My extroversion –which I am sure is annoying for a lot of people—are the trademarks of my personality; like the spots of a giraffe. As I get older, sometimes I feel like I have to behave in certain ways to “fit the mold” of womanhood, motherhood, or marriage. The hell with it! Whether they are qualities or defects, they make us unique in the world. Thus, I promise not to change or face the peril of losing myself in the process.
Note: I want to apologize for posting this week’s column so late, but unfortunately the taxi drivers in Colombia chose today to protest against Uber by collapsing the traffic all over the country. As you read this, my husband, our son, and yours truly finally arrived at the Royal Decameron Barú in Cartagena a few hours ago only to find the Wi-Fi didn’t work properly. We will stay here for four days –if I don’t murder a few annoying guests in the meantime—return to Bogota next Saturday, and then catch our flight back home to Jacksonville on Monday. Next week I’ll let you know how I found my pups and my house.
Thanks for reading and sharing.