June 11th (I think?), 2017
It is Sunday at 10:00 PM and I am sitting in the dark, with a fan on the highest level and the front door (which is a gate that you always leave locked) is open to increase airflow. Next to me is a cheap beer (Aguila light to be exact). I have finally washed my filthy body and shaved my armpits.
I am in Colombia, sitting in my collaborators apartment while he is in Bogota. I think my rash I had a few months ago is coming back – it starts with a herald patch (a larger patch usually somewhere on your back or stomach) and then you just get this random all over your body rash. No doctors know what causes it (likely stress) and nobody knows how long it lasts and like all rashes there is no cure. I think the move and that blasted United flight did me in for this rash part deux. Last time I had the rash it finally dissipated ~ 6 weeks later after I spent ~3 hours in a magical lagoon in Iceland. I don’t think I will find that here. F.
I just went down the Sunday night rabbit hole on Facebook (instead of working), scrolling through people's wedding and baby photos, which seem to occupy most my social media space these days. My other open tab is the on google's “how to keep your skin clear in insanely humid weather (because at 28.9 I now am getting adult acne. I’ve been here 3 days and my skin is greasy ALL the time, damn you humidity!)”.
I just read a book called What I was doing while you were breeding, aside from the authors slightly skewed perspective – a blonde, blue-eyed LA TV writer breaks up with a series of long-term boyfriends and finds herself single for the first time in her life in her late 20s and goes on a series of foreign sexcapades and extravagant New Year’s trips – I quite enjoyed the read. It resonated with me on a few levels, series of long term relationships in 20s and the part where many of your friends are settling down and while the author and I feel like life's adventures are just starting...
** Who am I kidding half my friends are un-married and/or recently single – get your booties down here, you’re only young once…. right?!
On being young…My second night in town I went out with the students from the University. I am never certain how old people are, mostly because in Colombia braces, the one’s on your teeth, are super popular. Anyone from ages 15 to 50 could have braces – it’s trendy. Anyway, I ended up drinking beer and Brazilian rum with the Colombian students and friends for 6 hours.
We were dancing and every song (champeta, salsa, vallenato, merengue) everyone kept yelling “Nikki dance to this one with X person!” and so I got shifted around from partner to partner because people love to see a gringa get down to some champeta. While some of the students puked in the alley (a 20-year old male), my dance partners included a 19-year-old named Omar. Omar had braces and looked 16, MAX. I laughed to myself and thought here I am Friday night dancing with a teenie bopper Colombian kid, but at least I can hold my cheap beer better than young Colombian men. Again – weddings, babies…small Colombian teenage dance partners with braces, pretty similar eh?
Today, I drove, in the burro 2.0, to the beach with my Colombian friends (including the 20-year-old puker). We spent a very Colombian weekend day on the beach in Taganga, a small fishing town nearby. I pet the stray dogs, swam in the water for 3 hours, and practiced my Spanish, ok Spanglish, with my friends – I really feel like I am getting worse at Spanish already.
I continue to impress myself with my self-survival strategy of keeping my shit together when I need to: i.e. driving in Colombia. I am learning to drive the car I managed to buy with some of my grant (and personal) money. I so far have figured out 1) how to unlock and lock the car with the clicker, which took quite a few rounds of the alarm sounding to get it right; 2) that the car is power steering "mechanico", not hydraulic or even electric, so DAMN that is why the wheel is so hard to turn, you need to give the car gas before you turn the vehicle wheel, no wonder people didn't need to work out back in the day when driving is a freaking work out....and ; 3) to drive like a Colombian, be aggressive and put yourself and your car first and things will work out…oh and NEVER, ever, let the horns intimidate you.
Surprisingly, I have not been too nervous driving here, but I have yet to head up the mountain or drive completely alone. The burro 2.0 is 20 years old. I think me and the burro will get to know each other all too well over the next year. Thank god (no spell check, I will NOT capitalize god) my parents taught me how to drive a stick.
If there is one skill in life kids, and adults reading this, learn to drive a manual transmission. It will save you money and make you sound like a badass non-millenial.
I may not have a wedding or a baby on the horizon (thank you IUD and Obamacare!) but I am excited to see what Colombia has to offer, which is more than Zika and Guerillas. So, come visit! The best thing I learned in What I was doing while you were breeding is that in life there is usually one big scary moment, once you get over that big scary moment you find yourself open to an array of possibilities and experiences. Seize the scary and see what’s on the other side!
|Mis amigos mejores (L to R: Daniela, Jefrey, Sintana ie the puker)|
|Taganga - Fisherman's village and popular weekend hangout|
|Obviously, there just should always be a dog photo.|