Last week, when my friend, Liceth, went with me to Siloé, we each took a photo of each other with Rentería, and Olympic wrestler. She wrestled in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, winning a bronze medal in each one.
My time in Cali is getting less and less. With the start of April, I now have a little over 4 months left to live in Colombia. I’m getting restless. I’ve been thinking a lot about whether I want to return or not. I have a round trip flight back to the states in August with a return for January, 2014. I’m feeling that after 4 years of living in Cali, I’m ready for a change. My life here has been good, but I want to spend more time in the states with my kids and their kids. If I can sell my house in Longview, Washington, I hope to buy a small place in Mesa, Arizona, near my son and his family. Then in April or so of 2014, I hope to go to Brazil for the World Cup. Eventually, instead of spending most of the years living in Colombia, I’m thinking of trying Merida, Mexico or somewhere else. I have accomplished almost everything that I’ve wanted to do while living in Cali. I lived a normal life here like a Colombian. I ran a half marathon. I climbed the 9,000 ft. Pico de Loro mountain. I spoke at a photography workshop about my photojournalism and documentary photography. For an hour, I showed photos and spoke in Spanish. I worked on a photography project in Bocas del Palo and had a photo exhibition at a gallery here. And with the help of donations from friends in the states, I brought 5 small point and shoot cameras back and donated them to the school in Bocas del Palo. I have gone a couple of times to help the kids learn to use them and take good photos. It’s been fun and rewarding for me. Lately, I’ve been working hard on a photo project in one of the most dangerous parts of Cali, in Siloé. I have enjoyed making friends there and slowly gaining trust of people and making photographs that I like. In June or July, I will have my second photo exhibition with about 40 photos from Siloé. Disappointments this year have been the loss of some good friends. Many have moved to other parts of Colombia or the world. I am glad for the friendship of my most loyal friend here for going on 4 years now, Liceth. I still have some good friends here that I see once in awhile. With others, they are involved with boyfriends or girfriends and we don’t see each other that much. And with some, we seem to have drifted apart for various reasons. I’ve lived in the same house for my entire time here. It’s not as enjoyable anymore. All the rooms on my floor are filled with people. One is the woman who now is in charge of the floor. I used to only deal with Esperanza, the owner of the house. We always got along fine. The new woman is something of a control freak and is starting to annoy me a little. She’s like a dorm mother or resident hall manager in the university. She is easily upset by little things. I am trying not to dwell on it, though. I just have to get used to changes. She’s nice usually, so hopefully, things will get better. I have only 4 months left after all. Before I leave in August, I will need to get rid of a lot of things I’ve accumulated here. I need to plan on not coming back, in case I really don’t. Before, I’ve always stored a box and a suitcase in the house while I went to the states for a couple of months each year. And, I still don’t have a girlfriend here to draw me back. That has been a little bit of a disappointment. I have several good woman friends, but they are mostly 20 to 30 years old. But, I still enjoy doing things with them and they like to do things with me. We’ve gone on hikes, to movies, and to new places in the area where I’d never gone. I’m thankful for their friendship. Lately, I’ve been mainly concentrating hard on my photography for the show and going to help the kids in Bocas del Palo several times. After August, new adventures await me, but probably not in Colombia. It will be sad to leave and very sad to leave my best friends here.