Guest starring: Benjamín

14 Aug

Hello, readers of Molly´s blog!

This is Ben, Molly´s brother (for those of you who don´t know me), writing from the living room of La Familia Salazar, in the neighborhood of El Estadio in Medellín. I told Molly that I’d write a guest post for this whole ‘not lost in translation’ business, so here I am.

I got here on Tuesday night after being picked up at the airport by Molly, Federico, and Antón. Molly started jumping up and down when she saw me through some windows while I walked to Immigration–but this was after she thought some other guy was me, so I’m not sure if the excited jumping was for me or the guy next to me. In any case, Federico and Antón are great guys, and their picking me up from the airport was a good indication of the friendliness of all the people I’ve met here, friends of Molly’s and complete strangers alike.

Note: Although Luna did bark at me for a long time when I got here, we´re friends now. I can’t be sure of it, but I think our friendship may have something to do with me giving her some of my breakfast the next morning. Shh, don´t tell.

I spent the next couple of days exploring the downtown area of Medellín–it’s a great city with beautiful newly-constructed parks, a museum full of excellent Botero paintings and sculptures, and the people, as I said before, are extremely welcoming. They’re also curious, as evidenced by the stares I draw everywhere I go. The staring wouldn´t be all that remarkable except for this: they make eye contact! Long and unfalterting, they seem to be searching for something they can´t see in my height and blond hair. It´s extremely refreshing–I can walk around Evanston/Chicago for days on end without a stranger looking me in the eye. Although I can’t be sure of their motives, I have a rough idea, and I like to think this speaks well for the people of Medellín.

I arrived at the right time, as the city was in the middle of a week-long party. The second night I was here, we went to a Bossa Nova concert in El Parque de Los Pies Descalzos. The music was great, and I got to meet a lot of Molly´s friends from AIESEC who are living in Medellín. I can´t say enough about this group of people. They’ve welcomed me as one of their own–I think Molly deserves some credit for that (¨Molly´s a great person, so I suppose her brother must be alright.¨)–and I’ve gotten to know most of them better in the short time I’ve been here. The work they’re doing to improve not only themselves, but this country, is truly wonderful.

This weekend was a blast, with Saturday featuring a day-long event involving a parade of horses (some of which were carrying stereo systems of the large-ish variety), and a lot of drinking in the sun. Minus the horse parade and plus a water polo match, I felt like I was in college. Sunday was a beautiful day for the parade of the silleteros. Also, I’d like to clarify Molly´s statment that we had great seats for the parade. By ¨seats¨ she meant ¨spots for standing in close quarters with a bunch of people for a few hours,¨ and by ¨we looked much hotter than she was,¨ Molly meant ¨Ben was sweating all over her.¨

Anyway, it’s been a great week. I’m leaving tomorrow for Cartagena with Jaime, a fellow American traveler whom we met on Wednesday, where Molly and Jason (and I think Mauro and maybe others?) will be joining us on Friday. I’m excited to hang out on the beach, but I’m already looking forward to coming back to Medellín for the last few days before I go back to Chicago.

So ends the guest post of Ben. Gracias por su atención.

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