Posted by: Sarah | August 31, 2009


I woke up this morning thinking about the weekend breakfasts that we used to make at Melissa’s apartment.  Alex and I would pick up freshly squeezed fruit juice from the frutera across the plaza and head down to the other end of the block.  We would say buenos dias to the portero of Melissa’s building, who was never quite as friendly to the gringos as the doormen who worked in our edificio.  Occasionally some of the other girls would join us, other times it was just the three of us.  We would make pancakes and eggs and instant coffee with steamed sweetened milk, and chat about life.  Through the window in the kitchen, we had a clear view of the Magdalena River, from the window above the hammock strung in the living room, the rest of Barranquilla.  I loved our lazy Sundays, the only time when the city calmed from chaos, as people spent the day at home with their families.

There are times when I catch snapshots of my life in Colombia so vividly that every ounce of me feels like I am still there.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think about Colombia, when I don’t miss it intensely.  I think back to my friends there, the incredible network of people that I had across the country.  I think about the long bus rides and wonder how the hell I got through some of them.  I think about hiking in Tayrona, the overwhelming sense of beauty and peace that I felt each time we emerged from the jungle where the Caribbean opened up in front of us, the Sierra Mountains behind, in the most awe-inspiring view I have ever witnessed.

A year of my life.  Far from perfect, far from easy, far from stress-free, but worth it all.  Would I do it again? I am asked this so often, and I respond yes, without hesitation, although the voice in the back of mind head always nags, when? how? will you really? I don’t know, but I hope so.  Because if I don’t return, it will be as if this was nothing but a dream.  A wonderful, unbelievable dream in a magical place that changed my life forever.



  1. I miss it sooo much too – especially El Parque Tayrona. I think that is one of my favourite places in the world. I miss the fresh juice stores, juan valdez, the warm evenings in Cartagena, nights dancing in la puerta in Santa Marta, hell i even miss the arroyos in Barranquilla!!! We will go back someday xxx

  2. “A year of my life. Far from perfect, far from easy, far from stress-free, but worth it all.”

    So true about immersing ourselves in cultures other than our own.

    Although, I’m glad your experience left you wanting to do it again. The last time I spent any amount of time overseas left me not wanting to go back ever – not because of the people or the culture, but simply because of the (US-based) organization I was with at the time. But, the experience was still worth it.

  3. I don’t know if I am reassured or frightened that this still happens 2 years later……

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