|Memorial Day Weekend 1983|
Arriving from Barranquilla,
Colombia to Salt Lake City, USA
Can you imagine being trapped on a trip with a brother who is a therapist and a psychology professor who never gets tired of "processing events" all day? As if video blogging were not enough, he might also think that writing exercises were fun! Below are some examples of both. To start, here are some thoughts from before our flight about returning to Colombia:
Our first stop was in the breathtaking city of Medellín, Colombia and here are some first impressions:
Colombian food is diverse and delicious! Oh my! We had the fortunate opportunity to be hosted by an incredible couple who served us meals in their home and took us to great places to eat. We ate so much but we would still welcome recommendations of other Colombian foods that we should try! We documented some of our many food adventures and the first time my sister tried some popular Colombian foods and drinks:
What is a Colombian? What we learned is that there clearly is no single story and that whatever answers exist are immensely complex. Lots of groups arrived from other parts of the world and mixed with the diverse indigenous groups of Colombia and this has influenced the makeup of Colombian people and the culture. While we shouldn’t have been surprised, Colombian people are very diverse. Still, for my sister, who has always stood out in the United States, it was refreshing to experience being able to blend into a crowd.
Jason: What did you learn about the different groups that immigrated or came as slaves to Colombia? How does that change how you think about yourself?
Sis: I always thought that being Colombian was more influenced by Hispanics and I never truly understood what it meant to be “Colombian”. It is amazing to the see the variety of people and the diversity even amongst the Colombians. We are black, brown, light skinned, tall, medium built, and the women have curves and own them. There is no shame in how they look and my whole life I have felt out of place and like I always stood out and not in a good way. I found a place where I blend in and still look slightly different. It was refreshing!
Jason: I have always loved you and I have always thought you were beautiful. I remember you taking diet pills, but before this trip I don’t think I realized how much looking different has been a challenge. I have really appreciated and learned a lot hearing about your thoughts comparing skin tones, hair and body types while on this trip and your experience of being Colombian in the United States.
Sis: My weight has always been a challenge for me. I felt the expectation was to be a size 2 at a young age because all the girls around me were. I would NEVER be a size two and I need to own my shape and my curves, but be healthy. My hair has always been a challenge and for most of my life I was ashamed of it. I thought it was ugly and I didn’t want to stand out I wanted to hide.
Jason: So how does seeing people who look similar to you effect you? I can’t imagine what it would be like for you to feel like you could just blend in after so many years.
Sis: It is heartbreaking. I wish I had known this when I was my ten year old self on diet pills and not wanting to eat food in front of other people. My size was NORMAL. As an adult I have taken on the role of being the person to set other people straight because I now know that Latinas have curves. I want my own daughter, who is twelve and struggles with this, not to have the same struggles that I did.
|Okay okay, that is probably enough "processing" for now. I am so grateful for my sister and for the opportunity to have this experience with her.|