European summer

I’m going to Manchester in this National Express bus full of blondes. The clouds are exactly like cotton and the sky is unexpectedly blue, it’s almost like a child’s drawing or like my first acrylic painting. 

I didn't remember It was so ugly...

I painted that on July 2012, when my life was about to get fully messy. I didn’t know that, of curse. I was still enjoying the view from the 25th floor of my apartment. 

If I was dreaming about Europe already, I don’t remember. Probably I was, I think I’ve always been. Europe seemed to be a perfect fit for me; people even told me that, they really thought that we would get along. I thought the same and we did. Europe and I was a love story to tell forever, to write books about, or maybe just poems. Poems full of season references. Poems like European summer and European winter. Love poems.

The sun is still shinning although summer is about to leave the heart of England. Manchester is my last destination. I’m only going there to catch my flight and to have one last adventure. “You’re my last European kiss, so make It a good one”.

Saturday night in Manchester.

I came here on May 30th, straight from New York to Manchester (yes, Manchester again). I was static. So jet-lagged, but at the same time so full of energy and promises. Promises to myself about keep doing all my dirty work properly, fast and lovingly. I think I did. I think that I’m going back to Colombia as a very different person, but probably no one will notice, the changes are dancing too deep inside and I’m the only one that can hear the music that my life is playing for me to carry on. 

How’s that music like? Percussion, for sure. Full of drums, African drums, Brazilian drums, Peruvian drums, Chilean kultrún. That’s my kind of sound and if I pay enough attention to hear It, I’m able to listen the messages that they have for me. Other times I’m deaf as a leaf and I ignore everything. Then I get sick, super sick, like I am right now. Full of internal sorrow and sadness and contradictions, trying to embrace them all to make them go away. Go away. 

Trying to hear music in Hamburg.

Europe has shown me different sides of myself. This has been like walking into different rooms with different mirrors that show opposite sides. And I have loved them all. And I have been scared of a few, but in general, it has been a learning process and a path full of growth and laughter. 

THE WOMEN AND THE MEN

The earth is the land of my women. They are everywhere, they are in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Perú, Colombia, México, Honduras, New York; and they are also all over Europe. 

There was one time in which I didn’t know that. I was a teenager and the cool thing was to despite women. The cool thing was to have only male friends because they were the opposite of what women were: vicious creatures full of anger and jealousy ready to take everything that you own and to fight for everything that you care and don’t care. 

I felt that I was wrong. I didn’t have male friends, I only had my women and they were a lot, tons of them. From my only women high school I took most of my tribe, one of them had a baby on September 18th, Noelia, welcome to this world. From life I took another chunk. One of them had a baby on September 21st , Leo, welcome to this world. 

For me, Europe has been full of women. Some of them are my favorite ones. Kind and fun people that support each other no matter what. I don’t want to get cheesy with “sisterhood” references, because I don’t live my friendship in that kind of way, but they are a fundamental part of my life and they teach me everyday to be more real and human, to lose stereotypes and to embrace the good. I want to think that I do the same for them. For each one of them. They are one of my loves. My women. 

It would be unfair and untrue if I didn’t admit that Europe has also been full of men. Blondes, mainly (you know me, don’t judge me). Loving creatures, in their way, full of desire and passion that taught me a lot about myself. Kind, fun, generous. I want to think that we attract what we are, so I hope I was the same for all of them. That sounds like a lot... It was not, really. 

THE ROAD

The roads are the same everywhere, except in Paraguay where they are shitty. The bus moves faster and slower depending on what’s happening in the highway. An accident? Works on the pavement? A toll? The speed changes until it gets stable and steady. We move at the same pace. We’re expecting to arrive at 6.10 pm. Update: I arrived around 7

I traveled too fast this past months. I wasn’t able to find that stable and steady pace that is required for long term travel. I got tired. So I’m leaving Europe with the sensation that It was not enough time for us to keep discovering each other, that I need to come back with a different approach, that I must plan smartly to conquer new goals and get here next year for the next summer. 

The contradiction between the movement and the "stillness". London.

I think It will happen. At this point, after all the things that I have done the past 1 year and 8 months; I find that everything is within reach. Which can also be a huge trap. I should be careful with that. The trap of the invincible conquer that can have It all. I still think that I will come to Europe again next year.

WHERE DO I BELONG?

South América seems so tropical from here. Even Santiago. So full of palm tress and lemon based cocktails and dancing moves. I belong to all of that. Do I belong to everywhere, then? To the tropical heart of my continent and to the fake summers of Europe? Is that even possible? 

This bus is getting slower and slower. Also my mind. I belong to the lack of sleep, that’s for sure. I belong to the sleep deprivation excuse that I provide when I can not keep my eyes open. I belong to my women all over the world, to the scent of the clothes in my suitcase, to the bread that I put in my mouth, to the permanent absence of avocado Hass and affordable mango, at the same time I belong to the same mangos falling from the trees in Roatán and Río de Janeiro, to the beaches full of stones and sargasso. I belong to Charlotte hiding a Berlin’s map on my notebook, to Maire buying me pills for the cursed that is my persistent coughing when I’m sick. I belong to Mary allowing me to have a nap on my first day in Rome, the first day that I did nothing in 4 months. I belong to Ingrid feeding me too much porchetta sandwiches in Trastévere and going for the best walk past midnight during the hottest Italian night, I belong to Bemah saying “you can stay with me if you go to London” and honoring that promise three times and taking me to kidnap a mirror on a Saturday night. I belong to Lina listening for almost an hour that story about a guy that I met and hosting all of my friends in Bogotá, even the ones that are not my friends anymore. I belong to Noelia making chilcanos for me and carrying my backpack all over Santa Marta because I consider It too heavy (I still do). I belong to Patricio going bar hopping so that I could make a fool of myself on a ridiculous night in New York. Ridiculous. I belong to all the stories that are written between my verses, all of them. To all the men that I loved. To all the sadness that some of them brought at the end. To the endless joy that a kiss brings to my life every time. Every time.

I belong to my mother sending me this message. 


"Yes, my love. I remember It always and you always remind me of this, and I tell you the same with no regrets: enjoy yourself because you deserve It; you worked like a chinese last year and the year before to fix the house and now you're only recovering the investment. Don't post this, honey, but I honestly don't deserve It because I have done nothing extraordinary. I want to see you so bad, but this is too expensive. Enjoy to the fullest because you deserve It and I will be very happy if you're happy, with no sorrow for me. I'm happy taking care of your siblings and Dorita. Mom". 

A few weeks later I booked my mother's ticket to Cancún because she did deserve It. She always does. 

The last European sunset in London. So long... So long. 


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