Back to Bogota, for real this time.
That my family would drive 10 hours from Cali to come see me and my boyfriend says a lot about the open mindedness of the Colombian people.
I never thought I'd find someone who would be patient and kind enough to go to the ends of the earth to meet the people who matter most to me.
My last day in South America was spent back where the trip began, in Bogota. And once again, after pleading with customs to let me see my family, I was in the warm embrace of the people who gave me the most wonderful memories from my childhood.
OK, so we're in Bogota and we've got a gaggle of relatives, which means one thing: mini bus. My mom hooked us up from NY, where all things happen, so that we would have a vehicle to take us around the city for the day.
So off we went, with my aunts and my cousins, up to the top of Monserrate (which you saw in our first Bogota installment). From the minute I saw my family waiting for me at the airport, I stopped being scared of the city, I stopped caring about the smog, I stopped worrying about my vacation coming to an end. In some ways, in fact, I felt it had just begun.
In a culture that thrives on openess, it pained me to ever have to hide any part of myself for the greater good of positive hearsay. To show off my partner and his lovely sister to my family was in so many ways a breakthrough and a relief, and it made me realize how lucky I am to not only take this trip, but to have shared it with such amazing people.
Having lunch atop the Andes, looking down at Bogota and catching up on family gossip, I was touched to see my cousins Mafer and Alejandra speaking in English with James and Pam. The last time I saw these girls they were 10, and now they were 16, very much in the throes of sophisticated adolesence, and welcoming perfect strangers into our family.
The day flew by, up the mountain, down the mountain, eat starch, eat starch, more starch -- soon enough it was time to go back to the airport and sure enough I was a weepy mess.
I will be back for sure, this is my home after all.