Virtual Dance Class: Travel from Colombia To Mexico through Cumbia

It’s Fall season, when spirits are said to come back to roam our realm. In honor of the Mexican holiday of “Dia de los Muertos“, our founder Ale will be offering a virtual Rumbaterapia dance class on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 at 8pm EST / 5pm PST to commemorate our ancestors through dancing Cumbia. This begins “Travel through Dance”, a new virtual dance class series where we explore different cultures in this unique way.

She will lead a 1.5 hour session beginning with a trip that starts in Colombia during colonial times when folkloric Cumbia was born on the Caribbean coast. Join her as she travels to land in Mexico to see the progression of the dance & music of Cumbia throughout Latin America. Of course, no such event can go without honoring La Santa Selena, Techno-Cumbia Queen.

Participants will be encouraged to prepare an altar honoring their ancestors (and/or Selena) before the dance class begins, and close to where they will be dancing. We will start with an introduction to the theme of the class, stretching, music & dance progression from old school Cumbia to modern Cumbia, and then we will end with a ritual to honor our ancestors, a breathing exercise, and then close out with a meditation. Feel free to dress in folklórico outfits, Selena impersonation costumes, and/or overall get as creative as possible to celebrate the dead through dance. It’s suggested to load up on incense, candles, sage, palo santo, or anything that you would like to incorporate into this dance therapy ritual.

There is a minimum $10 donation required for this class since all funds raised will go towards the Mochila Fundraiser to help us monetize our website. Send your payment with your email, and we will send you the virtual class link. Accepted forms of payment are: 1) Venmo @Travel_Latina, 2) Paypal aletracy4@gmail.com, or 3) Zelle aletracy4@gmail.com.

La Hermandad of the Traveling Mochila fundraiser

They are finally here and ready to sell! 3 years in the making to get to this point: to save, to heal, to organize, and finally to procure. Travel Latina began in 2015 as an idea that has grown into an international community of amazing viajerxs. As we grow we’re always trying to take things to the next level, which means so many different creative options. We are working on hiring someone to help us to configure the sustainable monetization of the website since BIPOC deserve to be paid fairly for their labor, because our travel bloggers and contributors deserve to be compensated for the tremendous work they have put into TL. Even better if we can create full time job opportunities for Latinx. If you believe in our mission, and love the progression of TL and the Mochila Viajerx through the years, please buy one of our products listed below to support our fundraiser. Our goal is to fundraise $2,000 USD from selling these products to cover the cost of the materials, and to hire someone to work with.

Making the Mochila: A 3-Year Passion Project

Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez (second to the right) and her friends with their Sisterhood of the Thotty Red Suit

After seeing Prisca Dorca Mojica Rodríguez’s IG post back in April 2018, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Red Thotty Bodysuit”, it gave me another inspiration. What can TL create in order to more strongly bring us together through an ‘hermandad‘, but also to collectively help us move forward not only in our own lives, but with TL too? From 2016 to 2018, I was living in La Guajira, Colombia, a Caribbean coastal department/state known for it’s Wayuu indigenous population and cultural influence. It hit me that I could design a Wayuu mochila in order to create the first prototype for the “Hermandad of the Traveling Mochila”.

Ale, the founder of TL with the mochila in Palomino, La Guajira, Colombia

The orginal mochila was made by a Wayuu woman, Genny, in the Mercado Nuevo in Riohacha, La Guajira for the price that was asked without bartering. I decided to include a journal, local Colombian sage, and 5 locally made cloth bracelets in the bag to share with the hermandad. The Wayuu have one of the last matriarchal societies known on Earth, where the people do not settle in villages, rather matrilineal clans where the woman is the center of the organization. They are spread out between parts of Colombia and Venezuela, many holding dual citizenship in both countries. These resilient people managed to keep their culture and traditions mostly unscathed despite Spanish conquest, and are the largest Indigenous group in Colombia. The Wayuu women have become recognized worldwide for their handmade knit mochilas, hammocks, and more. I am gracious and continuously thank the Wayuu for allowing me to connect with my Indigenous Colombian roots, although my roots are more particularly Chibcha roots from the interior of the country. Furthermore, we experimented with the pilot mochila, as a group of us TL contributors took it all over the world, from Colombia, to Ghana, Guatemala, Spain, and Italy.

The Fundraiser

After two years spent healing and saving back in the US, I finally started to save up for and procure more mochilas starting about a year ago. I sent the initial payment to Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia on December 24th, 2020 during a global pandemic. I had no idea what to expect with the constant and extremely strict lockdowns in Colombia, but the mochilas finally arrived to my house 7 months later after many delays.

Edermira worked on the mochilas this time

At the same time, I was working with Ashley Garcia from Brown Girl Travels to order some zines and stickers from her to include in the mochilas. In addition, I wanted to include small coin pouches from El Salvador to represent our social media manager Cindy Medina’s huge contribution to Travel Latina as a Salvadoreña. This pouch also makes it easier to share trinkets, souvenirs, consumables, dried herbs, and more with the hermandad. Finally, I decided to include a branded eco-friendly mini notebook, as well as stickers of our brand.

Mochila package – 17 mochilas in total, each for a minimum $100 donation:

We have 17 mochilas in total to sell, 5 of them green, 6 of them blue, and 6 of them magenta. Each mochila includes:
-1 mochila Wayuu from Colombia (green, blue, or magenta)
-1 Brown Girl Travel mini zine
-1 artisanal coin pouch from El Salvador
-1 eco-friendly TL mini notebook
-1 Brown Girl Travel sticker
-5 TL stickers (not pictured in above photos)

We are also selling several other smaller packages for those of you who want to contribute to our fundraiser, but don’t have so much to spend:

Brown Girl Travel Zine package – 3 in total, each for a minimum $50 donation:

This package includes:
-1 Brown Girl Travel mini zine
-1 artisanal coin pouch from El Salvador
-1 eco-friendly TL mini notebook
-1 Brown Girl Travel sticker (not pictured in above photo)
-5 TL stickers

Artisanal Coin Pouch & Mini Notebook package – 4 in total, each for a minimum $25 donation:

This includes:
-1 artisanal coin pouch from El Salvador
-1 eco-friendly TL mini notebook
-5 TL stickers

TL sticker package – 20 in total, each for a minimum $10 donation:

This includes:
-10 TL stickers

Payment Process
If you’d like to make sure a product color or package type is available before donating, please check with us via our TL Instagram DM, this blog’s “Contact Us”, and/or our email info@travellatina.org.

We will be taking donations via Venmo @travel_latina, Paypal aletracy4@gmail.com, or Zelle aletracy4@gmail.com.

Your full name, last name, address, and email are needed in order to complete the shipment. The minimum donation requested for each item includes shipping & handling.

My Ultimate Travel Inspiration: Abuela

A note from the author: This is a tribute to my abuela who recently passed away on Friday the 13th, September, 2019. This article was made possible thanks to my family who shared their oral history, where I was able to match up parts of her story with photos and documents. She often would explain, “yo crucé montañas, rios, y oceanos para poder pasar tiempo contigo” to the grandkids in order to help us understand what kind of effort, distance, and sacrifice was invested in order for her to spend time with us. Clarita was a soul full of colors, love and forgiveness. She was magic with her unconditional love, like a poesía de alegría. She could lite up any room she walked into, filling a house with her energy resembling vibrant colors. To better understand why Clarita was the way she was, our greatest inspiration to keep going despite life’s obstacles, the following is her story.

Clara Beatriz Rey was born on July 29th, 1934 in Bogotá, Colombia, although the date is debatable. This stereotypical vivacious Leo personality argued that her real birth date is unknown since she has no birth certificate to prove it. Her family’s life took a turn when she was 4-years-old because her dad Guillermo Rey Chacón passed away due to Tuberculosis, leaving behind Clarita, her older sister of 7 years-old Maria Helena “Nena”, and their Mami Maria Helena Vazquez.

They moved in with her mom’s 14 siblings, 5 tios and 9 tias who helped raise the young girls. Her mom was the oldest of the 14, therefore she was known as el gran poder, or the mighty power, also due to her affability and kindness leading to a certain don, or gift, she had liaising with people. Clarita would later acquire this same don and impressive ability of connecting with people in a way that even a stranger on the street would love talking to her.  Furthermore, Maria Helena had a distinct ability to play the piano that her parents ordered from Germany.

Clarita finished up to 7th grade (2do de bachillerato), then went to work at a Kodak 100_4407shop that some of her aunts worked at, as well as a laboratory where she packaged medicines. Cue meeting her future husband Carlos Jaime Chavarriaga (pronounced Hi-meh) on a bus towards downtown, both of them on their way to work in 1954 when Clara was 19-years-old. Jaime worked at the Manhattan store, a clothing line for men. By the end of 1954, Jaime and Clara wed at the Iglesia Santa Teresita, and then by 1955 their first daughter Martha was born.

 

First Trip Abroad, 4 Kids, and Career

Clarita y Martha - Culver City, California

Clarita & Martha in Culver City, California

By the end of 1955, a tia of Jaime offered the family of three their first trip to the United States. They took a short stop in Cuba for a couple of days, and they stayed in the USA for about 5 months. Since they stayed in Culver City, California outside of LA, Jaime tried out for various roles as an extra for several movies searching for “Hispanic” actors. He wasn’t able to find a job, so they returned back to Colombia. However, this trip must have made on impact on her first born (and possibly the second born too since she could have been conceived in the USA), which later on it will make sense why.

Shortly after, the brood grew to a total of 4 kids with Maria Clara (1956), Carlos Jaime (1958), and Claudia Rosa “Rosita” (1960). In order to not confuse Carlos Jaime Jr with his dad, we will refer to Jaime Sr as “Don Jaime.” Most family trips consisted of long weekend “Puente” holiday trips to warmer climate and lower altitude pueblos outside of cold mountainous Bogotá a couple of times a year. Girardot, Melgar, and Utica were the most frequented spots. Don Jaime’s brother, Guillermo, was a pilot, therefore the couple or the whole family sometimes got to travel thanks to his benefit. By airplane in Colombia, they visited coastal locations like Barranquilla and Tumaco both on the Caribbean and the Pacific coast respectively. 

 

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Clara on her way to Tumaco, Colombia on the pacific coast in 1971. Her brother-in-law Guillermo was a pilot, so he let her take a quick photo opp.

Family Trips in Colombia:

Entrepreneurship ran through Clarita’s veins, as did her nurturing and healing essence. In 1962-66 she started a fashion design business out of their own house where she had a couple of seamstresses on her team. In 1964-69 she created a cake and dessert business overlapping with the other business. Fast forward a bit of time in 1983, she supported Carlos Jaime’s travel agency business which later turned into a catering and events business, Banquetes Pablo VI, which still continues to this day 36 years later. However, her love for working in the healthcare industry prevailed.

Clarita found an internship working as an instrument nurse at the Hospital San José in 1968. To the dismay of her husband Jaime, who like many men at the time felt she should stay at home to child rear and tend to housework, she went against his wishes as she discovered her passion for working in healthcare and continued with it. At the time, Don Jaime had been working at Abbott as a pharmaceutical drug salesman who visited different Doctor’s offices, a job he held until retirement when he created his own related company Disfarma LTDA. Throughout the years, Clara worked seasonally or part-time at several different hospitals: Clinica Palermo, Clinica de Marly, Hospital Militar, and Clinica del Country. She specialized in supporting heart surgeries from about 1968 until about 1988 usually on part-time or short-term based assignments. She took two separate breaks between those 20 years, once in 1977 and once in 1981.

Clara was always savvy to find or create opportunities anywhere. She landed a job as a live-in nanny for two Cuban girls in the Miami, Florida area (Coral Gables) in 1977. She was there for about 5 months, where she would send her earnings as remittances back home to the family. At the time, the eldest daughter Martha was 22, therefore she helped run the household in Colombia. She later had to go home for unexpected reasons the family does not like to talk about, however the experience served as preparation for exciting opportunities to come in the USA and abroad.

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Clarita’s Beauty Battle Scar

She took almost a year-long break in 1981 after she severely broke her right arm in a freak mini elevator accident at the hospital, when a small container (aka dumbwaiter or lift), that transported medical supplies and other materials between floors in the building, fell on her arm and broke skin and bone. Around the same time, Don Jaime and Clara separated since they spent most of their time fighting. It was a very tough year for Clara due to her arm, her failed marriage, and her eldest daughter had left to live in the USA for good. Once her arm was fully mobile again thanks to healing and physical therapy, she persisted with her seasonal work at the hospital. This is only one of the many examples of Clarita’s strength and resilience. It wasn’t until the birth of her first grandchild in 1988 that she decided to drop everything and leave Colombia for a while.

A New Chapter – Grand-parenting All Around The World

At the wedding from left to right: Clara, Richard, Martha, and Don Jaime.

Her eldest daughter Martha met a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Richard Tracy, in 1978. They wed by 1980, and moved to the U.S. by 1981 after Richard completed his volunteer service. By 1988, they were living in Richard’s hometown Toledo, Ohio when Alexandra was born. Clarita decided by the time that Ale was 3 months that she was ready to be a full-time grandmother in the USA to help while both parents worked full time. A year later, and still the only birth of her grand kids she ever witnessed, Michele was born in 1989. Just two months after that, her 3rd granddaughter Diana Carolina or “Caro” was born in Bogotá to Carlos Jaime and his wife Diana Patricia. Because of this, Clara spent most of her time traveling between Colombia and the USA for the rest of her grand kids’ youth until the U.S. grand kids turned 18. For 19 years, her visits to the USA would usually span about 3-6 months each, about once a year, all depending on her Visa and who was able to cover her flights.

 

The most exciting birth of a grandchild occurred in the outskirts of Milano, Italy. Clara’s second daughter Maria Clara received a scholarship to study Opera in Italy, and she was there with her partner Carlos Yañez who was also studying his PhD from 1987 to 1994 for 11 years. In 1992, Clarita’s only grandson Andrés was born, providing her another way to explore outside of Colombia and help rear her 4th and last grandchild for a full year. In addition, she landed a job as a nanny for twin Italian girls. With her youngest daughter Rosita, who at the time worked for the Colombian airline Avianca, she was able to travel very easily due to perks and benefits from the job that were extended towards family. The two traveled throughout Europe together while they spent most of the time in Milano. They traveled to London, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, and all around Italy. Maria Clara and her family lived in Italy until 1996, when they moved back to Colombia.

 

Rosita and Clarita always traveled together when Rosita worked for Avianca

Again thanks to Rosita and Avianca, Clarita got to travel all over Latin America for the rest of the 90’s and early 2000s. They traveled to Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, and Quito. Maria Clara and Rosita spent a lot of time going to visit the USA to accompany Andrés and Caro throughout their youth, but not as much as Clara traveled there with the them. Thanks to Clara’s dedication and guardianship, as well as Rosita, Maria Clara, Martha, and Jaime’s funding and hard work, the four cousins grew up like siblings and all became fully bilingual Spanish-English.

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The 4 primos/siblings: Alexandra, Caro, Michele, and little Andres all together for the first time ever at the Bogota Airport.

Clarita en Santiago de Chile

Clarita and Rosita visiting Maria Clara and Carlos when they lived in Santiago, Chile

In 1991-1997, Martha’s family was living in Texas for 7 years, therefore Clarita had visited enough times to establish relationships in San Antonio, TX. She was able to acquire jobs with her Visa at the time working as a maid at a hotel, as well as babysat from time to time. When Martha’s family left for Mexico in 1997, she decided she was going to try to acquire U.S. citizenship. She continued work at the hotel, found a job at McDonalds, and helped care for disabled people. Whenever she had some extra time, she traveled to Mexico and was able to see some of the states of Coahuila and Nuevo Leon with Martha’s family. Perhaps due to viewing the USA as a ‘superior country’, Clara worked hard to acquire U.S. citizenship. She studied for years for the citizenship test to prepare for once she qualified to actually take the test, especially this visibly worn list of 100 questions in English. Although Clarita had the help of Martha and family to bid for citizenship, benefited from white privilege, and she worked very hard at several jobs, sadly her dream did not come true. It could have been the political and cultural nature of Texas, it could have been her broken English, but unfortunately U.S. citizenship was not granted to her after her test in 1999.

 

 

An Adventurous Life

Clarita Passport Photos

Clarita’s Passport photos through the years

Nonetheless, Clarita lived the last 20 years of her life traveling everywhere with her family. It was always her family connections who made it possible for her to travel so much, and on occasion she was able to save her own hard earned money from different jobs in order to be able to travel. Martha’s family moved to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan in 1999, Maria Clara and her family moved to Chile for a year in the early 2000s, and then her sister Nena’s family moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 2006, so there was still a lot of traveling. By 2012, all of the female grand-kids graduated from college, and so the family started traveling more together to new places. Alexandra moved to California, where it was the first time Carlos Jaime and Diana Patricia traveled to the USA in 2014 with the rest of the family. After that, different family members traveled with Clarita everywhere including an epically captured trip to Cuba.

Cartagena, Colombia:

Las Vegas, Nevada and the Grand Canyon:

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Clarita was very modern for an abuela, savvy with her cellphone, especially Whatsapp. Here is a picture she sent Alexandra about her piece of luggage she kept just because of the memorable trips Alexandra took with it.

Clarita was a resilient, independent, adventurous, and a vivacious soul. Her love for exploring new places almost matched her greater love for her family. For about 3 years, she begged Diana Carolina for a trip to Aruba. That trip did not occur because her 3 granddaughters thought they had way more time to plan and save up for the trip. Clara passed away unexpectedly in September of 2019 due to catching bacterial meningitis which sparked sudden rapidly deteriorating health. Thankfully, she did not suffer as she was in a coma for 11 days straight, 3 of which she was half-awake to what the family deems a miracle chance for her to say her goodbyes before she passed. The whole family was convinced she would live past 100+ years just based on her positive, magnetic, and vivacious attitude. Nevertheless, the family holds Clarita’s spirit in their hearts, and are currently grappling with how to move forward with this new void in their lives.

 

Stay tuned for our trip to Aruba which will pay tribute to Clara Chavarriaga Rey! Who knows when it will be planned, but it will happen!

Montañas, Rios y Oceanos

Possible tattoo inspiration found by Michele. Clarita, a Leo with the Sun as it’s ‘planet’ (star), would often say “yo cruce montañas, rios y oceanos para pasar tiempo contigo.”

Carnaval en la Punta de los Remedios, La Guajira, Colombia

The famous Carnaval de Barranquilla might take all of the attention in Colombia, but there is a little-known secret about a spectacular carnival experience near the Caribbean sea and beach in La Guajira. La Punta de los Remedios is a small pueblo village within the Dibulla municipality in La Guajira. This location is about 3 hours East of the city of Santa Marta along the Caribbean coast. From the plaza in La Punta, you can see the Sierra Nevada mountains on a clear day. The celebration is held annually on the Sunday before Mardi Gras.

27867904_10211485906044111_6980460315365090493_nLike all carnival celebrations in Colombia, you should expect to have flour, foam, and/or water not just thrown at you, but even smeared on your face. It’s all in good fun, and its done with genuine happiness, just prepare that it will happen no matter what. The more you fight it, the more people will want to target you for extra laughs at your expense. Just cover yourself with flour from the beginning in order to deter problems. Everyone wears bright colored outfits, very similar to what I exhibited in my article about the nearby Carnival celebrations in Dibulla, La Guajira. You will find plenty of musical acts, dance performances, and food & beverages. Sold all over are empanadas, skewers, sausage, fries, and more.

Attending the event with some local Peace Corps colleagues and playing with Dibulla kids like always:

I also got to perform Samba (before I got flour all over me) with the Fundación Carnaval from La Punta. It was an exhilarating presentation, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to perform in front of so many people and the first time with my new back-piece wings my husband helped me assemble:

 

 

Check out these videos from past Carnival celebrations in La Punta:

Another Reason Why Locals Dislike Expats

I decided to a share a story from my visit almost two years ago (March 2017) to Casa Elemento Hostel in Minca, Colombia – a breath-taking and popular hammock viewpoint hostel in the Sierra Nevada mountains just outside of Santa Marta. Though the view and the food were outstanding, I was really upset to see how I was treated by a bartender there. My objective with this article is to bring awareness to all of us as travelers in a foreign land, especially to increase our ability to see how our actions can appear imperialistic, a.k.a. toxic settler/colonizer mentality, or simply down-right rude.

I was loving the music being played at the hostel, which I should mention is owned by a North American woman. It was mostly U.S. American hip hop and rock tunes being played. I don’t know why I thought it would be fun to request a Latinx song to get the mostly European and U.S. American guests to start dancing and experience this very important part of the culture in Colombia. For those of you who know me, I’m always excited to get the dance party started. I went to ask the hostel staff about my music request, and the whole interaction went down like this:

Me: Can I please play a Salsa song?
Mexican Bartender #1: Sure! You’ll have to ask the owner if that’s okay though.
Me: *Confused* …ummm, okay

*I walk up the few hill stairs from the bar closer to the restaurant.**
Me: Hi are you the owner? I was told by the bartender to ask you if it’s okay to play Salsa music?
North-American Owner: Oh that’s so cool! Yes, everything is up to the discretion of the bartender. My rule is no electronic music. That’s so cool though, Salsa!

*I quickly walk back down the hill to the bar where I couldn’t find the first bartender I talked to, so I talked to the second.*
Me: Hi I just talked to the owner to get permission to request a Salsa song and she said it was okay.
British Bartender #2: Oh, well, I don’t have that kind of music.
Me: That’s okay, I have my phone we can plug in
Bartender #2: I’m sorry, but if you can’t tell, there are mostly British and [U.S.] Americans here, so we are playing music that most people want to hear.
Me: But, we are all visiting Colombia.
Bartender #2: *Smirks, shrugs, and walks away without a care in the world*

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Panoramic view from Casa Elemento Hostel


Not only was I appalled by this poor customer service but I was deeply disturbed by this insensitive way of treating a non-European, non-traditional U.S. American customer. I spoke to Bartender #2 in English as a Colombian-American, so I can’t imagine how local Colombian employees and/or guests are treated by this bartender. I told the only other Colombian guest I met at the hostel, and she was also deeply distraught by this treatment.

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Sunset view from Minca, Colombia


I was livid, but I appreciated that both Bartender #1 and the Colombian receptionist Jessica at least listened to my complaints. Ultimately, I do think Casa Elemento needs to talk to Bartender #2 about their insensitive comments because this will deter local Colombian or overall Latinx/Latin-American customers in the future.

Moral of the story: at least TRY to act like you are interested in the music, culture, and customs of the country you are visiting or living in. We are guests in that country short term or long term, so we need to show respect. In the future, I will try to avoid touristy places that don’t have mostly locals in order to avoid this kind of treatment.

Thank goodness for those breath-taking views, motorcycle rides through the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the coffee tour we took, all of which made up for poor treatment at the hostel. Minca is one of the only areas along the Caribbean coast of Colombia that cultivates coffee, as it is rare in this region compared to the interior’s Coffee Triangle. I highly recommend checking out La Victoria Coffee Farms for a tour, and there is a craft brewery across the path from them called Nevada Cerveceria.

 

Conexión Latinx: Salento Workshop Recap

It took us 8 months to finally recap on our amazing trip experience in Salento, Colombia with Scarlet Macaw Trips, but better late than never! Our first and so far only TL workshop collaboration trip was both a learning experience and a success. The following is a summary of TL’s role in the trip.

Our main objectives: Womxn were brought together for networking, womxn supporting womxn, healing, connecting with ancestral roots, using the fertile earth of Salento as a metaphor, and goal-setting during this space while exploring a new area together.

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TL offered 3 workshops in order to complete objectives and build relationships:

  1. Yoga Improvisation: Cici, a yoga-certified instructor, was unable to join the trip in the end, so Alexandra replaced her. Ale has more dance teaching experience, but she does like to incorporate Meditation and Yoga with dance. She didn’t know the names of poses, but she did great with everyone’s help! The important part is that the yoga session most definitely flowed. Ale made sure to do a lot of heart openers, bringing awareness to the fertile land with physical grounding exercises while on our bare feet or while our hands touched the ground, and releasing tension from our hips.
  2. Ancestral and Meditation Exercise: Ale lead into the grounding exercise where everyone was organized in a circle in order to face each other, and also the ancestral altar was organized with everyone’s items together in the middle. First, she lead them to close their eyes and perform a grounding exercise with the group where we imagine energy replenishing us from Pachamama with roots coming out of the bottom of our bodies, energy from above, and then we increased interconnectedness by passing the energy around the circle several times and counterclockwise too. After that, we each introduced ourselves and introduced each of our ancestors we wanted to bring on our journey. It was surprising to see each and every person share very intimate stories, therefore it was was wonderful to see that people felt it was a safe space to be vulnerable with each other. Due to unforeseen circumstances in the land of some of the greatest quantities of exotic flowers, we couldn’t find any sold in Salento! Next time: flowers and other ofrenda are a MUST!

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Example of a flower ofrenda we can organize for the next Ancestors & Meditation excercise

****Major Observations From This Exercise****

  • Adriana brought homemade essential oils for each person attending, like palo santo or lavender.
  • Lorena pointed out that there was exactly 11 of us together on the trip in total, a very spiritual number!
  • Michelle brought zodiac astrology sign erasers to share with everyone.
  • Two white butterflies entered our circle and flew through the middle, a symbol of purity (or a clean slate) and transformation.
  • Coincidentally, a total of 4 people who were in attendance are Therapists/Psychologists

3. Speed-Dating, Elevator Speech, & Goal-Setting Workshops: it was inspiring to see what people’s passion projects and future entrepreneurial goals were. Everyone shared, and also provided feedback for each other. We invoked our Ancestors in order to help further our goals. Some people even came-up with ideas during the workshops, including the recent #Healing4Healers trip initiative. Saturday, March 31st, coincidentally a Full Moon, people had to start reflecting on and writing their goals for a specific goal-setting workshop the next day Sunday. The full moon is a time to reflect on things that are blocking you from your goals. The new moon is perfect for setting goals, while the full moon is best for letting things go.

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Saturday, March 31st Full Moon

~*Nature Observations*~: There were two white butterflies that entered our grounding meditation circle and flew through the middle. Later on during that trip, Ale saw a white dove flying over us in the Salento pueblo plaza, a bird she had never seen in real life. Coincidentally, we had a full moon the night we had to reflect on what goals we wanted to set, reminding us that we needed to focus on letting go of the blockages. A lot of rainfall was observed, which served as a metaphorical cleansing for the group, and then finally on the last full day together, Sunday, we had the most amount of sun out of all of the days. Sahara kept saying she wanted to see a hummingbird the whole trip, and we finally saw one at the finca coffee tour. It was magical!

Our trip was unforgettable. Between the hike at Valle de Cocora, the leather making workshop, the finca coffee tour, and much much more, we had a wonderful time! We hope to work with Scarlet Macaw Trips again in the future, and/or provide more workshop collaborations.

Testimonials:
Through this workshop I was able to dedicate 5 days to myself and to support other women, no help create a no-judgement space and to be comfortable speaking my passions, dreams, fears, out loud. The workshops and the conversations with all the women help me realize that I can achieve certain things that seem unrealistic and silly before. Since the trip, I’ve been more verbal and enthusiastic about my intentions to start a business in Colombia, and people have been more receptive to this idea.”

“It was wonderful to meet others with similarities in background and identity markers and who also shared similar values. I appreciated the chance to candidly share about my personal and professional journeys and receive support from a group who really “got” it. I’m taking away a greater sense of confidence after experiencing that kind of support.”

“I think there was a perfect balance of planned activities and free time. I appreciate your efforts to make it fun and yet fruitful. I think there is so much potential for future workshops and other traveling ideas. Ale and Sahara, I have so much faith in your projects and cannot wait to see them blossom, I admire your work, tenacity and dedication to your passions and projects. This trip and all of its fruits are thanks to you […] THANK YOU.”

“It was really affordable which is great, I hope that you also get to make so profit from future trips because you are putting A LOT of labor into in. But in general the experience and the relationships I built no tiene precio!”

“You’ll see me at some of your future trips 🙂 and I hope that we also get to meet in other countries for workshops 🙂 Thank you for making this trip a reality! That’s in itself an inspiration to see a passion project modelled!”

Under the Knife and Under the Sun: Plastic Surgery While Traveling

By Camila Luna

Travel and plastic surgery. Yes, I traveled to where it’s sunny and warm (and cheap) and  got plastic surgery. Phew! There, I said it.

Like many of you, I, too, have struggled with self- image. I have looked in the mirror, and despite my best efforts to love myself, have told myself that I don’t like X, Y, or Z about my appearance. And, like many of you, some of those “imperfections” I’ve changed with surgery  (you’d be surprised who has had work done), and other “imperfections” I’ve learned to accept.

For me personally, two of my biggest insecurities have always been my nose and my breasts.  Nose too big, and boobs too small. I have done the typical girl things to cover up these insecurities with contour, bras, and flattering clothing, but at the end of the day when you’re bare-faced and the clothes come off, you’re faced with reality.

So, you’re probably wondering: what work did I get done, and how did I plan for it?

Well, I’ll start with the latter question. Honestly, I did not really plan for my surgery. I was at the beginning of my two-month trip through 3 countries and 5 cities, and I suddenly got the idea that while I’m in Colombia, I might as well get the work done that I have always wanted. Mind you, at the time of my decision, I was in San Francisco and was planning on being in Colombia in about a weeks’ time. I had one week to find a surgeon and schedule the surgery.  I was planning to target my two major “imperfections”: boobs and nose .

Right away I started researching surgeons in Bogota, and even reached out to a few, but then I remembered my dear cousin, who has had quite a bit of work done (and looks gorg, btw). My cousin put me in contact with her surgeon, who wrote me into her busy schedule right away.

While all of this was going on, I was sharing my plan with my close friends and family. Of course, all of them were trying to dissuade me from surgery, and my mom, being a scientist, managed to find some really interesting research on breast implants that ultimately changed my mind about getting them.

Although breast augmentation is one of the most common plastic surgeries in the world, it also has the potential for the most complications. Namely, breast implants are NOT lifetime devices. Although those silicone (or saline) pouches have improved dramatically through the years, if you’re in your 20’s, you must plan and expect to have AT LEAST one more surgery down the line to have the implants replaced or removed. Every extra year that you have your implants, the risk for complications increases, and after every additional surgery to fix or replace your old implants, the risk for complications increases even more. Top that off with the fact that I have a tendency for skin allergies (large foreign object implanted in body= unhappy allergies),  and I realized that breast implants were not worth the risk for me.  The absolute best case scenario was that they’d be great, last me a good 30 years, and then I’d need to have them replaced at age 50 (and then again at 80?? Uhhh…), and the worst case scenario is that I’d have a reaction and have to have them removed in a few years (with no guarantee of the condition of my natural breast skin & tissue after removal). I was not down for either scenario, so I decided against the boob job.

Rhinoplasty, on the other hand, is one-and-done. I knew the risk was not liking my new nose, and the usual complications that go along with surgery, but I trusted the surgeon based on the work she had done on my cousin, so I decided to go for it.

While in Bogota, I got all of my hospital tests done, booked my Airbnb for where I was going to stay (I wanted to have my own space while I was recovering instead of staying with family), and even arranged for someone to take care of me post-surgery when my mom wasn’t around.

I met with my surgeon three times before my operation to discuss what I wanted, what was realistic, and possible complications, and even got to sneak in a super intense 4-day trip to Medellin right before the surgery (not sure if my doctor would have advised that, honestly). Then, exactly one week after I landed in Colombia, I found myself laying on the stretcher, with an IV in my arm, ready for surgery. I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “This is a joke right now. Am I seriously doing this? Whoah this is crazy. Am I crazy? You’re kidding me right now”. Nevertheless, I went through with the surgery, and woke up 1.5 hours later groggy and with a big cast on my nose… but very happy nonetheless.

Buuut….as soon as I was able to look in the mirror after surgery, my heart sank. My nose was exactly the opposite of what I had wanted! 😱😱 It was upturned, and the space between my lip and nose looked huge. My lips looked thin. I looked like a cross between a chipmunk and a pig (pigmunk). I knew that the way my nose looked then was not going to be the final product and that my cheeks were all types of inflamed, but it was really hard to stay positive.

In the first few days after surgery, I think it’s safe to say I was depressed. Surprisingly, my nose did not hurt at all during the entire recovery process (although my doctor had cut both bone and cartilage), but emotionally, I was not in a good place. My face still looked like a pigmunk, my cast looked crooked, I couldn’t sleep because my nose was so stuffy, and now I was starting to get bruising under my eyes. I was terrified that I was going to have the nose of my nightmares.

I am generally a person who is positive and in a good mood. Even if I’m having a hard time at work or if I get my heart broken, I just cry it out, read some books on inner peace, and then I bounce right back to my normal, happy-go-lucky self (yeah, for my exes reading this… even if you screwed me over, I was SO over you in just a few days 💁💁💁😂) . But post-surgery, there were some days when I just wanted to lay in bed all day and feel sorry for myself. It was a kind of sadness/emotional numbness I hadn’t felt before.

Thoughts whirled in my head. Was I succumbing to unrealistic European beauty standards that weren’t even for me?  Was I minimizing my African and Muisca roots? Was I betraying everything I stood for? Do I love myself? Can I love myself and still risk my health by unnecessarily going under the knife???? And if I don’t love myself… will I ever be able to truly, deeply love anyone else??????

I didn’t want to see anyone, or even walk around the block as my doctor had instructed. I just wanted to lay in bed and think about how bad I looked and then judge myself for being so vain (talk about vortex of self-pity😩) Regardless, I had promised myself that even if I didn’t like my new nose and looked like a pigmunk for the rest of my life, I was not going to get revision rhinoplasty and would just accept myself the way I was. I had PROMISED myself that my nose job was one-and-done.

One week after my surgery, when the highlight of my day was being  able to breathe out of one nostril, I had my first follow-up appointment with my doctor. She removed my cast and immediately I started smiling- under the ugly cast and the tape holding up the tip of my nose, I saw my dream nose! It was smaller, had no bump, and still had the characteristics of my old nose that I liked: it was still long, like my Muisca ancestors, and still round at the tip, like my African ancestors. My new nose was perfect for me, and I knew that through the recovery it was going to look even better!

My doctor put on a new, smaller plastic cast on my nose, and for the first time in a week, I put on some lipstick, dressed up in my cute clothes and even left my house to socialize with family and close friends. Finally I was feeling like myself again!

IMG_20180830_191233PicsArt_08-30-06.50.06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the procedure I had told myself that my surgery was going to be top secret. I felt ashamed, felt like a huge hypocrite (body- positive feminists don’t get plastic surgery?? 😰), and matter of fact, my biggest fear was returning to Shanghai (where I currently live) and having people realize that I had had my nose done. But with time, I found myself telling almost everyone around me. I told almost everyone except for my three best friends in New York who I would see in two weeks. These girls, who have known me for about a decade, were going to be the test reaction of my nose job. I was excited and nervous.

When I finally arrived to New York about two weeks after my surgery, no one noticed a thing. When I told my friends, all I heard was … *crickets*…. “wait, really?” “but where?” “but what was wrong with your nose?” “did it hurt?”. No one noticed a thing. My family joked that I had wasted my money since the difference was unnoticeable to others.

Despite this extremely anticlimactic reaction from my friends, I am very happy with my surgery and don’t regret it at all. When I look in the mirror, my nose is exactly the way I want, and I can absolutely notice the difference. I still contour my nose, but now it looks just the way I want when I take off my makeup. The difference is very subtle and natural, and I feel much prettier.

Now, for the big question many of you may be wondering about: how much did my surgery cost? The surgeon fee cost the equivalent of about $1,300, but with the hospital fees, anesthesia, medicine, etc, I would say the whole surgery cost about $2,000. This is freaking cheap AF. I paid it in USD, which probably thrilled my doctor.

I have decided to be open about my surgery because honestly, surgery is serious, it was as much an emotional journey as a physical one, and it is an experience that has changed me both inside and out. I know there is a lot of stigma and judgment around people who get work done, especially in the US. But honestly, I feel more comfortable and free when I’m open with others- even if they disapprove. I don’t want to normalize plastic surgery, but I want those of us who have chosen to go under the knife to be included in the self-love dialogue, just like everyone else. If you’re reading this and thinking terrible things about me (or even feeling “concern”/ “pity” for me), it’s ok, I honestly don’t mind- maybe you also secretly want to get some work done… hahaha 👀🙊.  Also, I understand it can be hard to wrap your mind around the fact that someone would get surgery just for vanity.

Either way I’m still me, and even though I changed one “imperfection” with surgery, I’m still on the journey of learning to tolerate/love my body. Will I have more invasive plastic surgery in the future? Honestly, I hope not. I’m happy with what I’ve done and don’t want more. Will I get little things like fillers or Botox? Honestly…. that’s a definite yes.

Mostly, I want to continue this journey of body acceptance/enhancement/modification with a prayer for myself and everyone reading this:

 “Universe, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”

 

Oh, and one last thing. If you’re considering surgery while traveling, here’s what you should know:

10 things to know before getting plastic surgery while traveling:

  1. Unresolvable cognitive dissonance. But… but…I’m a body- positive, intersectional feminist who barely shaves her legs… how can I get plastic surgery??????
  2. No flying for at least 10 days after surgery. Nope, ya can’t leave right away! And if you’re in a mountainous place like Bogota, you need to be in the city at least three days before surgery while your body adjusts to the altitude.
  3. No sun. I know, the title is misleading. No matter how beautiful the beach is near you, after surgery, you need to stay out of the sun to prevent swelling and possibly permanent discoloration.
  4. You will probably feel depressed. This was big for me. You will probably be in your room, in pain/uncomfortable, questioning your life choices/ beauty standards/mental health/sanity, and feeling ugly as hell for at least a week after surgeryThis can be quite isolating, and you might be thinking of all the cool things you could be doing if you weren’t suffering from your own vanity.
  5. Kissing will hurt, and you need to curb the hanky-panky and any other form of exercise. Sometimes flings & things happen while traveling, so tell your new amiguito to chill because you just had surgery and can’t get too crazy with any type of physical activity.
  6. With your cast on in Latin America, people will assume you got a nose job. With your cast on in the US, people will assume you had an accident… LOL
  7. You will think people are judging you, and they probably are, but guuurl (or boy or they/them)….. do you anyways.
  8. No alcohol in the days before and no alcohol for at least two weeks after surgery. Yep, gotta curb the fiesta.
  9. You should definitely speak the local language, or find a doctor who speaks excellent English. Clear communication with your surgeon is SO important to get the results you want.
  10. RESULTS ARE NOT GUARANTEED!! There is a possibility you will not like your results or that there will be complications. Be sure you are very, VERY aware of this and be emotionally prepared to deal with this kind of situation if it happens.

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When I posted this photo from my room in Bogota, no one would have guessed I was laying in bed with a cast on my nose.

Check out more of Camila’s articles on the Travel Latina website, and check out her travel blog in photographs at @camila.lunaaaaa on Instagram!

 

Hermanas are the Best to Travel With

This is dedicated to my sister Michele Catarina Tracy Chavarriaga for her birthday

Gritting your teeth while sitting in the car during a long road trip, you would yell, “déjame en paz!” This was normal for you when we were young since I was usually the annoying one trying to bother you. You couldn’t sit still, loved shaking and moving in your seat…which we would find out was because you were holding your pee because Papi would get mad at us if we needed to use the restroom too many times.

We would play the road trip game “I spy with my little eye”, and sing “Cielito Lindo” or “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” in order to avoid annoying our parents with the constant restless question of “Are we there yet?” We would listen to Carlos Vives, Gypsy Kings, Gloria Estefan, Maná, all kinds of Classical music, and much more on the vehicle’s stereo system.

Despite all of the fights, the long drives, and the cranky attitudes, one of the best parts of growing up was traveling with my hermanita. There isn’t anyone else that has experienced the world almost the exact same way as me growing up. We both had the privilege of having humble parents that valued experiences and education rather than material things. I am so grateful for them.

Our trips were either to the park in our community, or to go visit familia in South America. We also moved all over the USA, lived in northern México, and visited our family in Colombia together. Every family trip was made together up until our college years. We were quite literally THE traveling hermanas.

Following are some of our most fond memorias I have explorando with you

Where visiting our Colombian family every couple of years was always a big deal:

Bogota 1995 - First time remembering Caro

The first time we remember meeting our prima Caro at the airport in Bogotá, Colombia in 1995

Living in Texas for almost 7 years meant exploring the U.S. Southwest:

 

Living in México for 2 years meant exploring a lot of this gorgeous country and receiving lots of visitors:

Moving up North to Michigan meant traveling became less frequent, but the few trips we did take became more extreme:

Bogota Airport Arrival 2001

The first time traveling to stay with family in Bogotá, Colombia for a whole summer without our parents was in 2001. This is our whole family greeting us at the airport.

 

Moving away from home means meeting up to explore together:

 

Michele, I truly hope we never stop adventuring together. When and where will our next trip together be? TE AMO MUCHO!

Anyone else LOVE traveling with their sister or siblings? Send us stories, photos, comments, etc!

Yoga & Wellness Retreats by Brenda & Argentina

Brenda and Argentina are both Latina yoga instructors based in New York City. They met while practicing and teaching at a studio in Harlem, NY. Their mission in partnering together and leading yoga retreats is to build a broader yoga community, one that is more inclusive and welcoming.  

BU&AR

Argentina Rosado
Argentina was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 15, along with her mom and three siblings. She began practicing yoga and meditation as a way to cope with the changes of moving to a different country, learning a new language, and fitting in with the culture.

After graduating college and then working in the pharmaceutical drug industry for years, she decided that she wanted to contribute to people’s health and wellbeing in a more holistic way. Argentina is now a full-time yoga instructor and has been studying and practicing holistic healing practices such as Reiki, Yoga Nidra, and various meditation techniques. Her classes are breath-centered, challenging yet accessible and never competitive. Off the mat, she loves to spend time with her dog Rocky and volunteering back home in the Dominican Republic.

Argentina in DR - Travel Latina

Argentina in the Dominican Republic, her motherland

Brenda Umana, MPH
Brenda stumbled upon yoga in a corporate wellness class while working in the Financial District in San Francisco, CA. At the time she didn’t realize the amount of emotional distress she carried with her, which yoga somehow slowly began to relieve. After many attempts at different corporate jobs, Brenda is now a full-time yoga instructor and committed to making yoga accessible to everyone.  When she’s not doing yoga, she’s enjoying some wine, curled up reading a book, or out and about in the city.

Brenda’s family is originally from El Salvador, and she was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Throughout her childhood she spent many summers travelling back to El Salvador to visit her extended family.

Brenda in ES- Travel Latina

Brenda in El Salvador, her motherland

Both Argentina and Brenda have been traveling from an early age because of their family and historical roots. They have a passion for culture, food, and community.

August 2018 Yoga Retreat in Santa Marta, Colombia
Together, Argentina and Brenda set out to co-lead their first yoga retreat in 2018. They started the year with organizing and teaching at the Spring Awakening Yoga Retreat in Nicaragua which was a huge success with a group of 12 people taking on the adventure. Check out the hashtag #SpringAwakeningYogaRetreat for some colorful photos, like:

 

Brenda and Argentina are now hosting their second international yoga retreat on the beautiful Caribbean Coast of Santa Marta, Colombia on August 15-20, 2018. The retreat will include an unforgettable six days and five nights of yoga and meditation at an eco-chic beachfront resort. There are plenty of self-care activities planned including themed workshops to deepen your practice and journaling activities for self-awareness and discovery. There will be two day trips scheduled (natural parks, coffee farms, local markets, nature hikes, sacred pools, waterfalls, river tubing, etc). Oh, and tons of free time to take for your sweet self. The Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta is the world’s tallest coastal mountain range. This area is referred to as the Heart of the World for its geographical location but most importantly because every single ecosystem exists and thrives in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The adventures in Santa Marta will allow some time to learn about the Indigenous cultures protecting the Heart of the World. The four existing indigenous tribes (Kogi, Wiwa, Arhuaco and Kankuamo people) are ancestors of the pre-Hispanic Civilization, known as the Tayrona. They still practice and follow the Tayrona belief of “Aluna”, which is the belief that all reality is created by thought.

 

Without a doubt, you’ll be making memorable connections, and so much more, we can’t describe it all here! Click on this link to see the full itinerary, to place a deposit down and list of what’s included

A Note About Instalment Payments
Brenda & Argentina realize that although these experiences are once in a lifetime, there are budget realities. Many people that attended the past Spring Awakening Yoga Retreat in Nicaragua decided to take a payment plan option after the initial deposit. They sent in payments of $50s here and $100s there until they completed their final balance before the trip. Paying a large lump sum of money at once can be challenging, but for this reason Brenda & Argentina are offering a payment plan option where anyone can submit small amounts towards the total balance. The total balance is required to be paid by August 1, 2018.

As yoga teachers, Brenda & Argentina don’t exactly teach to make the big bucks. Once they both decided to turn the corner away from the corporate world, their income drastically decreased and they found themselves planning out their budgets more often, goal-setting, and saving money over time to do the things they are passionate about. They are striving to really make this inclusive. We are all deserving of these experiences.

Pricing
Initial non-refundable deposit $300
Standard Triple Bungalow – $1,874 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)
Standard Triple Bungalow – $1,974 Regular Price (After May 13, 2018)
Double Bungalow Suites- $1,974 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)
Double Bungalow Suites- $2,074 Early Bird (Expires May 13, 2018)

A Love Letter to Bogotá

Ah, Bogotá. 

Every day, the thought of your cloudy skies and rainy streets permeate my mind. I never thought either of those things would appeal to me, not now they’re forever preserved in amber in my memory.  

In July of 2016, I flew into you, not knowing much more about you other than the fact that you’re bursting with about eight million people.

The hum of Pillar Point’s Dove oozing from my headphones, I gazed out onto the hazy, emerald mountains outside my scratched, undersized window. I’d watched Kia Labeija voguing through Bogotá each day before visiting you, each time my soul building with anticipation to wander La Candelaria’s cobblestoned streets. 

 

I couldn’t wait to see your jarring contrast of skyscrapers and Montserrat’s looming presence with my own eyes. I wanted to feel as free as the uncaged Kia.

As soon as I arrived, I felt disoriented. Which way was North? I wondered countless times. My obsession with order was flipped on its head. I’m usually quick to orient myself, but with mountains on all sides, it was hard to do so.

Which way is up? I might as well have wondered. I was vulnerable in a most basic sense, but I’ve learned to grow from this discomfort.

I was nervous and thrilled, but with you, this excitement was different. I’d returned somewhere I’d never visited. I felt as if you’d been waiting patiently for me all these years, trusting I’d walk in the door eventually. Like a dormant volcano whose crater filled with water over millennia, you basked in waiting.

What was the rush?

I’d meet you in due time. Now, as I write this, I realize how much I miss you. I miss the cool air that put my blankets to use. I miss wearing jeans without sweating and layering my clothes. I miss the peppery smell emanating from food carts selling warm empanadas.

“Beef or chicken?” the vendor asked me.

“Mmm…One of each, please. Oh, and do you not have salsa?”

“Como no,” he said, and he placed the magical ingredients in a brown paper bag.

I felt inspired during the Bogota Graffiti Tour. I’d learned of the artists from Ecuador, Mexico, and New Zealand who’ve made this place their second home, and now I wanted to join them.

 

 

A Reptilian monster wrapped itself around buildings’ unassuming walls, and an indigenous woman looked to the sky, averting her gaze from us mortals. I’d learned of the artist the police had shot, then of the subsequent police barrier protecting Justin Beiber while he stained your walls. Once the police left, your artists reclaimed your wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved the atmosphere of change. Of recuperation from trauma of a violent, capitalist-driven cocaine trade. Just like with any trauma, I’ve never completely recovered from mine. I constantly seek to explore my traumas and the effects they’ve had on me, and writing has been my saving grace in that process.

Bogota-Street-Art

On your walls, people explore their traumas or those of humans no longer with us. This homeless man was beaten to death and one artist commemorated him.

I was only there for three days, yet I was blessed with being able to queer it up during the LGBTQ Pride Parade. Just like Pride in Managua, Nicaragua, you haven’t sold out to corporate interests. Instead of free t-shirts, I got kisses on the cheek from new friends. We floated past the rainbow banners in between patches of sunlight that the skyscrapers’ granted us. I took my sweater off and put it back on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I danced the night away at the immensely fabulous gay club, Theatron, then on the taxi ride home, I fell into darkness. It could’ve happened anywhere, and I’ve learned just how resilient I am since it happened.  

I wanted to stay. You know, I really do love museums. It’s how I get to know a place intimately. I wanted to dive further into you, to explore your history in its glory, sadness, and tumult. I still want to know you. I felt the heaviness in my heart one feels when they’re not ready to leave a place. This feeling reminds me of Iranian author Azar Nafisi’s words about leaving:

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place… like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” – Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

I miss who I was when I was with you, Bogota. Now you know. I can’t wait to explore you again.

Love,

Char.