ON leaving

My mind tried to prepare for the move weeks before it happened, unsuccessfully fighting off too much nostalgia and packing early, knowing quite well that minutes before leaving for the airport my aunts would step in to re-accommodate everything, managing to fit extra bottles of rum and aguardiente with ease and to rush everyone out the door. Flying out on Bogota’s birthday meant hitting an hour of traffic due to the nighttime ciclovia, passing parque Simon Bolivar as fireworks went off, and arriving at the airport just in time to check in (squeeze an extra drinkable gift in the bag, much to the attendant’s understanding of Colombian necessities), and to cry as I hugged my family one more time.

Leaving is a procedure, it happens often (for me anyway), instigates change, and can be therapeutic. I can’t ever just leave. The process starts long before I’ve parted and continues post-arrival. It includes the thought-grabbing seances that make one contemplate the differences in places and one’s reaction to the change. The moment I hit purchase, my mind wandered, followed by spurts of tears in the week following. My feet, walking parallel to the mountains, already missed the city.

It’s nostalgic to leave, knowing you have built things up to a point and that they’ll change – jobs, relationships, environment. The unknown is exciting and scary but distance is fickle and takes no pity, leaving no option but to remember pleasant experiences and to continue building new ones. Since leaving I’ve moved twice. Once to visit the parents and friends and again to a semi-permanent place (that’s the plan anyway). I’m still amid mountains and water, but just on the other hemisphere. The Colombianitis doesn’t subside, but I’m happy for this change. Moreover, I’m grateful for the incredible time spent in Colombia, the people I met, and the opportunity to reconnect to a place I’ve always called home.

Bogotá from Monserrate


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