Note- to be so passionate about something that you spend hours speaking about it, that you spend your waking hours wishing you were doing something about it, and eventually the need becomes so great that you do.
Juan Carlos Echeverry, who studied in the U.S. and Europe, says that’s all people knew of Colombia — even years after Escobar was killed by police.
“Ten to 15 years ago, I studied in NYU in New York City, and I studied in Germany, I studied in Spain, and every beer with friends from those countries, we spent hours speaking about Pablo Escobar and narco-trafficking,” he recalls.
Echeverry says it was tiresome.
Now, he’s Colombia’s finance minister. At the Summit of the Americas in the coastal city of Cartagena, he’ll give his side of the story to heads of state — including President Obama — and CEOs from some of the biggest companies around. He says many people are already getting the message.
People are talking about this, infrastructure and oil and tourism. And people want to come to Colombia, and this humongous, tectonic change of stereotype, Colombia as a promised land.
“People are talking about this, infrastructure and oil and tourism,” he says. “And people want to come to Colombia, and this humongous, tectonic change of stereotype, Colombia as a promised land.”
as i stepped onto the plane, i was still furiously trying to mend my heart. i remember the anticipation thick in the air, the kind that is incited only by red velvet cake or something of the same richness. i drummed my fingers against the plane window. the plane arrived.
i walked through the airport, calling your phone. nervous, because i knew you were sort of dependable, but not always. i know, that is a purposeful paradox.
i left you a message after you didn’t pick up several times. i walked some more. i sat in different places.
i walked to the gate. i looked around. i probably looked for your curly, messy hair. i didn’t find it, so i kept walking.
i listened to music to keep myself from getting too frustrated.
and then i walked again to the gate, tired. this time finding you. and our eyes probably had the same tone, some kind of misguided hue, wondering, curious, because it’s been 4 years. your eyes were bigger than i remembered, you hair (or lack thereof) trimmed close and receding a little (in an endearing way), which is why i didn’t recognize you. your skin about the same, your lips a little wiser, your teeth a little whiter from your obsessive brushing. still as minimalistic as i remembered you, for your carry-on was a neck pillow and a book. you were holding your phone, which had proceeded to die as you landed in miami. you said that you thought you saw me, but my hair is longer, unrulier, and you said I looked Latina. so you didn’t wave me down.
and we laughed, kind of the start of all the bells of laughter we’d play in the coming weeks.
Monday, July 3rd, 2006
9:00 am – when we part
i am back in the country. i contemplated writing “i am back in my country”, but gradually i am not so sure.
i left the mighty mountains of yunnan armed with too many photos of the sky and memories overflowing my heart.
i turned twenty one on my first day in Tainan. i cried in front of the starched paleness of my grandfather’s hospital bed. my cousin got me drunk that night on Smirnoff and karaoke songs.
my last three days in beijing were composed purely of heartbeats in an inmeasureable rhythm. i looked into the reflection of his sunglasses as i pressed my palm to the window of the taxi cab. his mouth was set in a pin-straight line, and he did not move as the taxi pulled me quietly out of his view. “boyfriend?” asked the taxi driver. “no…no. a very very good friend.” leaving him meant leaving china.
my flight was delayed two hours.
i got into san francisco and dashed toward the gate where my transfer flight was waiting. in slow breaths and 4/4 time, i passed matthew scheer- curly hair, green eyes. falling hard while walking across the golden gate bridge and falling asleep while watching waking life. life moves in cycles. i catch my breath. i can’t stop smiling when i hear Tu’s voice.
the plane slipped into the houston air just in time for me to witness the golden clouds of the Texas sunset. i cried as the escalator brought me into view of my mother’s smile. 800 renmenbi are still carelessly stuffed into my purse. my plastic credit cards stretch and smirk in their sudden usefulness. the future rushes at me with sickening certainty. i have not yet learned how to stand still. i think about being single. i am tired of answering questions about what i write. i seek change with far more dignity than i should be allowed,
“You are what disappears: you are the thing that someone has let go of, you leave a trail of words behind you simply to continue existing.” stephen bor
during lunch, yesterday, i discovered that my hands still hadn’t stopped shaking.