Awakening in Colombia

I awake on a twin sized wooden bed, the room slightly illuminated by peeks of a pre-dawn sky. I stretch, realize this is not a dream: this is a true birthday gift from the most interesting man in the world, I am blessed to be here. I look over, Meli is out and about already, her twin bed made. I hear someone in a shared family bathroom, decide not to wait. After dressing quickly, I grab my toothbrush, unlatch the windows, let in the fresh air. I unlatch the door and step out onto the 2nd floor. I look ahead, see the pineapple fields, just barely, in a slight purple, mostly gray as the sun rises in the opposite sky. I head downstairs, to the bathroom just behind the kitchen pavilion.

I find Meli in the bathroom, toothbrush in mouth. “Ready?” she asks. “Always” I respond. For the past decade, this was my response to her when she inquired if I was interested in the latest exploration.

I was teased the whole time: "jaja, no Lala, that's not marijuana..."
I was teased for my lack of botanical knowledge: “jaja, no Lala, that’s not marijuana…”

I felt as though we were sneaking out as no one was awake yet, and we knew the family would try to postpone our venture into the fields of this pineapple farm. We head toward the sun, rising in the east. This side of the finca had larger trees, only wild pineapple, accompanied by plantain and orange trees. I discovered that pineapple & marijuana plants have a close resemblance. We are so happy to be free, exploring new land, new terrain. Colombia was similar to Florida in the warmth of the climate, and a few plants, but other than that- a unique beauteous land.

It had hills, mountains, cool nights, bright yellow pájaros, giant neon green bugs, the sweetest fruits you can consume. I felt the greatest sense of relaxation.

We soon headed back for breakfast before we heard any alarm of our disappearance.

DSCN4467After breakfast, I laid out by the pool and un pájaro relieved itself in flight, remnants splashed on  my leg. It wasn’t too gross, it looked like fruit and water. I was told it meant good luck. Cool, bring it- back to relaxing in a picturesque reality.

I looked around me, palm trees, agricultural fields of piñas, naranjas y plátanos. Mountains in the West, blue skies above. There were trees overflowing with fruits I had never seen, the succulent sweet juiciness, found only in Suda America. The flowers on the plants were stunning. The “tranquilo” culture & love extended from new family; never did I feel a stranger or an outsider. My rudimentary Spanish was embraced and more than enough to fit their language of love. The Toros without having to try, embraced me like family and were eager to show off & explore their magical country.

My senses were overloaded in all the best of ways, especially deep within my soul. Not only did this ignite my lover affair with Colombia, but also began the awakening of me.

-Lala Castaldi

This is a 1st in a mini blog series about Colombia; stay tuned! 

*All photos within are property of Toro Organics.

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