In January, Jen came to visit me and I proudly introduced her to everyone in Colombia as my cousin. The same went for when Anna visited in May. I think they both got used to me saying “Te presento mi prima” to each new person they had to kiss on the cheek. My sister Caroline enjoys the same familial bond at university. She goes to school with Anna’s older sister Krista, and the two of them are known within their Young Life circle as cousins. Sometimes the term “friend” just doesn’t do our relationships justice.
I’m blessed to have grown up with a group of family friends so close that we call each other family. The Pauleys, the Batezels, and the Schweppes have gone on countless ski and beach weekends together, attended weddings, baptisms, funerals, graduations, birthdays and always been there for each other through the happiest and saddest moments. As a woman at the Schweppe’s church once told me- “It’s even better that way. You’re not cousins by blood, you’re family by choice.”
Having my family come visit was one of the highlights of my time in Colombia. I loved being able to introduce part of my world from the United States to my new world in Cartagena. Now when I go back I have at least a few people who will really know what it was like here.
After our morning/ mid-afternoon in the mud volcano, we headed to the city center to walk around and take photos and buy souvenirs. We had fun haggling prices and drinking coffee and coconut lemonades. Ramiro came along and I acted as translator between the four of us.
Caroline was a bit scared of holding the baby iguana.
At the end of the trip Caroline said one of her favorite things was, of all things, feeding the pigeons. I have Ramiro to thank for that one. He laughed at how much fun Caroline and Anna were having and said “It only costs 1,000 pesos and it’s so much fun.”
The next day we went to visit my school. First order of business was getting there, and that meant taking moto taxis:
Then they got to meet my crazy, loud, curious, funny little students. They all had a million questions for the girls and I got to play translator some more. They gave mini-presentations about their majors in college and the students got to practice introducing themselves and asking questions in English. Anna even got up to learn how to salsa dance in front of the class!
Despite some hiccups getting to the airport and on the plane with all their luggage, they made it on the plane and back home safely. As soon as they went through the security and I could no longer ask the security officers lots of questions, I turned to Ramiro and burst into tears. I love these girls so much and having them in Colombia meant so much to me. I wish they could have stayed longer.