Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia
January 17, 2016

A Love Letter

I meant to write you a letter this week that was a love letter to Medellín. Tell you step-by-step about the museums and the food and and the art and the music and the people.

But then I lived through my last week here, and the long goodbye poured itself over my days.

Days filled with lasts.

The last time going there. The last time seeing them.

A long and beautiful and heart-breaking and heart-mending goodbye.

Jeannette Winterson starts one of my favorite books ever by noting that the measure of love is loss.

So, Medellín, here is my measure: heartbreak.

I will miss the sun cracking over your hills in the morning, and the slow crawl of sunset, walking down the Eastern wall at night.

The glitter of gold flickering to life as evening curls in around us.

The sonor of Aguacaateeeee, an opera singer turned fruit salesman, like clockwork, 11:30 am.

The rush of the afternoon traffic, cacophony of motorcycles and taxis and gas-powered bicycles punctuated by tiny, persistent dogs.

The still clarity of a Sunday morning, even the birds holding the silence.

The joy of a futbol victory, a city erupting as one as, in an overtime shootout, the ball breaks the goalline and the city's favorite son is crowned champion.

The lilt of Colombiano Spanish. The wide, real smiles. The kindness of every stranger. The kindness of every friend.

I've tried to tell the people who are from here, for whom this city is normal, how special this place is. That there's nowhere in the world quite like it.

It beats, heart. Pulses alive. Built from and for every man, woman, child, grandparent.

They have built Medellín. They build it still, the only way anyone here knows how to do anything:

With their whole heart.

Goodbye, Medellín.

I love you.


p.s. The best thing I saw all week was this city, spread out under a sky of stars as I stood with friends on a rooftop - drinking a ¡Salud! to Medellín.

But the best thing I can share is this beautiful piece on language, writing, and a wonderful question: Are we different people in different languages?

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