Before the twins were born, I swore I wouldn’t let them stop me from getting out of my comfort zone and traveling. What I didn’t realize was that sometimes a trip to the grocery store would qualify for both counts. Nevertheless, when Mom asked if I wanted to take the boys and join her for a week in Medellin, Colombia, of all places, I decided to commit and then figure out the rest later.
That strategy–commit, then figure it out–sometimes works, and it sometimes backfires.
Say you’re at the grocery store, and on a whim you buy all 30 ounces of cream cheese for a cheesecake. No matter how you feel about it later, you’ve got to actually bake it. Because there’s no way you’re eating enough bagels to excuse that purchase. You bake the cake and act like it was totally planned.
When you buy airline tickets to Colombia, you go. Even if, as the days before the trip approach, you find yourself wondering what on earth you’ve signed yourself up for.
In this case, the strategy was a good one. I’m glad I went, I’m glad the babies had the experience–even though they’ll never remember it–and I’m glad I got out of my comfort zone enough to make it happen. With that said, there were many moments during the trip that I longed for a childproofed playroom, for a husband to dump the babies on long enough for me to take a nap, and for wonderful English-speaking baristas at familiar local coffee shops.
The following are some of those moments.
- When stuck on the metro wearing a screaming baby while sandwiched between 25,734 complete strangers.
- When on the metro alone with one twin, after Mom got off the metro at an unknown previous stop with his brother.
- When desperately trying to explain that I want a hazelnut latte, not a cafe americano con leche.
- When trying to remember the Spanish word for “upstairs,” drawing a blank, and feeling like an entire university Spanish minor course of study is failing me.
- When fumbling with Colombian pesos and trying to disguise the fact that I have no idea how much the jumble of coins in my hand is worth.
- When staring blankly at a menu of traditional Colombian food and realizing that none of it is remotely appetizing.
- When the standard, already-annoying twin questions (how old are they? are they twins? which one is older? are they walking yet? are they identical? are you through having kids now? you must have your hands full? is this one bigger? are their eyes more like yours or their dad’s?) are even worse when presented in rapid-fire Spanish but blending in is impossible with blue-eyed, fair-skinned babies.
My memories of Colombia will forever be misty mountains, lush flora, gently swinging cable cars, plywood “beds,” incredibly kind locals, and various iterations of the above seven situations. I would go back in a heartbeat–but I’d definitely arm myself with more mental preparedness and basically just prepare to function in survival mode for the duration of the trip, should that become necessary.
In other news, I’m still recuperating, because some vacations are relaxing and some vacations are exhausting and this was the latter.