Four year anniversary
Four years ago tomorrow, I stepped foot in Cali, Colombia for the first time. I had traveled in several South American countries before, but never Colombia. I was curious about it. Any potential danger did not scare me. I had traveled in over 40 countries, some called dangerous by my government and some I visited in wartime. While planning the trip to Colombia, I decided to go online and try to meet someone from that country, thinking perhaps I would have someone to show me around a little. I met Mirian online. We emailed often up until my departure date. She agreed to meet me and said to call her when I arrived. I did. She was great. I was invited into her home where she lived with her two daughters and her mother. I shared meals with them. We went salsa dancing one night. I met her sisters and other relatives. One Saturday, she invited me to accompany her and her daughters to Parque Nacional de Café near Armenia. We left early in the morning by bus and spent the day at the park. We learned a lot about coffee, the growing process and production. The park also had a cable car that went high above the park. And, there were many rides including a roller coaster. I think I rode on almost every ride with one or the other of her daughters. We had a great day. Of course, I soon fell in love with Mirian. After I left Colombia, we continued to write. In March of that year, 2008, I wrote a story with photos from that trip for The Daily News, the newspaper I worked for in Longview, Washington. Several months later, I returned to Colombia for another visit. Things didn’t work out right away and I was impatient with Mirian. I decided on impulse to just take off on my own and travel through a lot of Colombia. I went all the way north to Taganga and it’s beaches. Along the way, I visited Medellin, Cartagena and took a boat to Mompox. Mirian tried to get a hold of me where I had been staying in Cali, very concerned about me. We emailed a lot while I was traveling, but never saw each other again. And now, in the almost 3 years that I have been living in Cali, we still haven’t seen each other. We have emailed each other or talked on the phone two or three times. Recently, she emailed me and wants to see me. I plan to go to her house soon for a visit. That will be interesting, probably difficult and emotional for me. Since that first visit, I have probably fallen in love or had major crushes on several women. But, because of that first connection in Cali and her friendship, Mirian will always hold a special place in my heart.