We are home. After a year in Colombia, a month in Peru and a few days in New York City, I am back in Johannesburg, wondering what to do next. Instead of concentrating on the future, however, I find myself reflecting more on the year that has passed. And I have to admit: Colombia, I miss you.
The comforts of home are exceedingly welcome, don’t get me wrong. Family, friends, pets. Driving my car again, alongside South Africans who seem positively law-abiding compared to the crazies who rule Colombia’s roads. Wine (oh, wine!), cheese, summer braais. Oh, and humidity-free weather! Amazing.
Still, mi vida le falta algo. Is that correct? I wish I’d learned more Spanish.
I miss the language, and I miss the lifestyle. I miss the salsa music, the colour, the iguanas.
I miss the adventure of daily bus rides, which would occasionally deliver me to the less-savoury side of town, and I miss the people, who would laugh at the lost gringa but help me on my way. I miss the tiendas on every corner, stocked with beer and rum and aguardiente, and I miss lounging in the plazas on sultry evenings.
I miss my students, and my co-workers at SENA. I miss the other volunteers, now spread out across the globe, and my roommates, especially the furry one.
Most of the food, dripping in oil and saturated with sugar as it is, I can do without, but I do miss ajiaco, chicharrón, and endless fruit, limes and avocados. I even miss the arroyos and hearing the same Enrique Iglesias song every day.
Mostly, I miss the adventure of being somewhere new, surrounded by the unfamiliar in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Te extraño, Colombia. Espero poder volver un día.