Friday, January 10, 2014

Afterword: Colombia

I was just on three different flights: Medellin to Miami, Miami to Dallas, and now Dallas to El Paso. There is an odd smear that happens as you travel to so many places. I think my mind and parts of my body are still in Medellin.

Although I spoke English while there, when I exited in Miami my brain froze in bits when talking to people in English. My ear although relieved to hear the round sounds and nasal pitches we make was growing accustomed to listening closely to all the deep bellied rrrrrrrr's. The further I got away the more the accents changed from Paisa's and Rolo's to Cuban's and Jamiacan's to Southern belle's and ending finally with the singsong voices that are the choir in El Paso.

I lived in Dallas for many years, but upon being back I find I don't think I'll ever live here again. I prefer the broad spectrum of browns and yellows and reds of other places. It's funny how things happen. In Medellin, I grew excited when someone spoke to me in Spanish. I blended. They thought maybe I was one of them. When they heard my accent they simply asked if I was Mexican or didn't ask at all and only looked at me more intently. I was even more proud when they didn't think I was a gringa! Here in Dallas a woman spoke to me hesitating, in that "Does she speak English kind of way," (is it the great tan I have from being at the beach for 4 days??) and I was offended. Same thing, different response. It's odd to have such a large city be so monotone.

I feel space and how spread out everything is here. Medellin is like a deep breath inhaled into the mouth of the valley, tight and with everything close together. The long highways and open space here seems like too much almost. The space is something not only seen in the city but in the people. I am glad to have my bubble back. The personal space around all of us that others don't invade. That space does not exist anywhere in Colombia. People stand close and bump you and talk to you while in line even when you have the, "I just want to get through this and go" face. They have people who will help you at the grocery store and stand near you while you try to pick a cheese. To me, they lurk and make me uncomfortable. For them they are helping and think our way of service is rude. A sales girl at the store practically tried to put a pair of shorts on for me and the whole time I wanted to yell, "Get out of my bubble!" but I just smiled through gritted teeth and said, "Gracias, estoy bien."

Today when I get home, I will be overjoyed to be in my bed, with my Sami, Drew-b, and Salome, but I think it may take a couple of days for all my parts to be joined back together. And the interesting thing is, when traveling to new and far places, that maybe they won't fit back together the way they did before.

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