My very first trip to Colombia, S.A was unfortunately not for leisure, travel or any very joyous occasion. My mother’s brother in-law’s father had recently passed and we were all invited to attend the services in Colombia. Out of respect for my aunt and her husband, we decided to attend these services. I was half excited to go to Colombia, the place where my family is from, for the first time but also half nervous to be going and meeting my extended family on such a sad event. Our bags were packed and we were ready to leave, I’d say we did a good job of being quick and efficient in our packing since we left on a moment’s notice.
We arrived at Jose Maria Cordova International airport the morning of Jan 15, 2010. Our family in Colombia had arranged for a close family friend to pick us up from the airport and take us to the home in which we would be staying which was my mom’s brother in-law’s sister’s house. She lived on a 7th floor apartment in El Poblado, Medellin overlooking a beautiful scenery of mountains- something I do not get to see looking out of my basement window here in Flushing, New York. It was an exciting change of scenery. We did not have any time to settle in since the viewing was taking place that afternoon. In Colombia it is customary to attend the viewing and it usually lasts into the early hours of the morning after the viewing because the family then takes the body to be buried that same night and into the next day.
We were all tired from the trip but knew that after the services were over we would be able to rest and also do some sightseeing. The next day, after the services were complete the family got some rest while my mom, younger brother and I explored the city. Medellin has a lot of foot and cyclist traffic so it was easy to get around because everything was so close in the neighborhood. Since we are all mostly fluent in Spanish, it was also easy for us to get around if we were looking for something we couldn’t find on our own. One thing I definitely wanted to see was the Plaza Botero which is a plaza that the bronze sculptures of artist Fernando Botero are displayed. In that very plaza lies the Museum of Antioqia which holds many works of Fernando Botero as well as other artists whose work is constantly traveling to be on display from museum to museum.
That evening, our family took us out to dinner at a local restaurant by their house. It was within walking distance and we all had a great meal of the typical meal of Medellin which includes rice, beans, a flower patty, scrambled egg and pork rind. It was a very large plate but was also delicious. Though our trip to Colombia was only four days long, we also got to see the Medellin Museum of Modern Art which is currently still under construction but the art that is already on display there is superb.
Going to Colombia, I saw a lot of different parts of the city we were in. I was glad I got to experience the art and culture of where my family is originally from and hope to return to the beautiful country (that often gets a bad reputation) soon.
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