As I explained before, I decided to turn down a job opportunity in Malaysia to come back to Colombia to help my mom take care of my grandma.
I arrived on Sunday the 18th and the past week and a half has been a whirlpool of emotions. My grandmother passed away the day after I arrived. Although I am so happy and grateful that I got to say goodbye and that I get to be here to support my mom, it has been a very emotional and difficult process. We spent last week preparing everything, having the wake and the funeral, starting to empty out her apartment, and doing all the necessary but painful things that have to be done when someone you love leaves this Earth.
The week left us completely emotionally, mentally, and physically drained- specially my mom, who has spent the last six months living in a hospital, accompanying my grandma. So when my mom’s best friend, Marcela -coincidentally, my best friend, Catalina´s, mom- suggested that we go on a weekend escapade to her finca* in Apulo (about 2 hours away from Bogotá), we jumped at the idea. And so, on Friday afternoon the four of us set out on the ultimate mom-daughter, girl road-trip to escape the cold, the pollution, and the traffic of Bogotá and do a bit of physical and emotional healing on the countryside.
The trip started out great! A truck turned over in the highway so the road to Apulo was closed, forcing us to find a way back to Bogotá that consisted on a lot of stopping at gas stations to ask for directions, and eventually caravanning with strangers who were going the same way as us. 3 hours after we had left the house we were still in Bogotá and we had lost the car we were following. During yet another stop at a gas station it suddenly occurred to me that we had a GPS! The fact that it hadn´t occurred to us before should give you an idea of how exhausted and out-of-it we were.
But the fun didn’t stop there, oh no! Even with the GPS we had a generational understanding gap that led to us getting lost two more times (straight means don´t change lanes!), an attempt to reverse on the highway, and lots and lots of emotions. We finally arrived at midnight, 6 hours after we had left the house!
As soon as we got there, however, it was clear that it had all been worth it. The warm weather, the fresh air, the sound of the river running next to the house immediately promised the heavenly relaxation we had all been hoping for.
The next morning we woke up to the chirping of birds and to that warm, cushy feeling all fincas exude so distinctly. We had a full on Colombian breakfast with eggs, arepas, hot chocolate, and fresh orange juice. Cata and I went out on a walk to explore the pueblo while our mom’s stayed relaxing in the hammocks. It had been so long since I had taken a walk through a small Colombian pueblo! I had missed it so much: the dogs in the street, the slightly dusty air, the colorful fresh fruit markets.
We walked for a long time, talking and talking and smelling and feeling. We crossed abandoned lots, and houses full of people, we walked through bridges and enjoyed the sound of the river, and finally sat down at the end of a rustic, wooden bridge, isolated from everyone else. We ate two bananas that a woman at the market had given to us for free and we proceeded to refaire le monde**
After we walked back we gave in to the temptation plunged head on to the beauty that is lying on a hammock on a hot day. As we laid there we ate one of the best ice-creams I have ever tasted in my life- if you ever go to Colombia, FIND IT! We read, we talked, we felt the breeze. You know how the hammock drill goes…
But something else eventually called to us: the pool! Seriously, this was paradise. A bowl of fresh fruit salad by the pool, some good exercise to release the stress, a little bit of reading and sunbathing, some guitar playing, need I say more? It was so good we came back for more after a short lunch break.
The only thing ruining our escapade was the thought of having to come back so soon! We set out on Saturday night sad about leaving, but feeling rested and recharged, and ready to take on all the tasks we need to face.
The bad news? This week has been spent doing a million exhausting errands.
The good news? We´re going back to Apulo for Marcela’s birthday this weekend! Wohoo!!
What about you? What do you do, where do you go when you need to escape and recharge?
*Finca: From Merriam-Webster: A rural property, ranch, or farm in Spain or Spanish America.
** Refaire le monde: A French expression meaning “to remake the world” that describes conversations in which you talk about everything and nothing.