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THIS is Why You Should Trust in the Universe

USA | Tuesday, 17 January 2017 | Views [607]

It was approximately 2pm. I sat adjacent my mother at the bar in a cozy & quaint café in downtown Lansing--The Soup Spoon Café--it’s always been a favorite of ours, especially on dreary Michigan winter days. The rather accentuated face biting wind and ballbusting cold (and a hunger commesurate to a starving dog in both our stomachs) lured us into the place. We waited for a table tucked away at the bar watching the localvore plaid shirt and glasses wearing beardos hurriedly whiz by, casually taking time to stop and tuck their long hair behind their ears and roll up their sleeves, revealing colorful arrays of fresh ink. (S/O to Fish Ladder…)

My mother and I chatted while we waited, but the  “less-than-24-hour departure to South America roundabout” seemed to continually intercept our conversations. Like any hyperconcerned invested parent, my safety keeps my mother up all night. When she first found out I made the choice to travel to Colombia last December, she threw up for days. Not kidding—like, middle of the night run to the bathroom and upchuck last night’s pork chops and applesauce kind of sick. And to this day, it’s the thing that causes me the most guilt about my thirst for an Esmerelda lifestyle—causing my parents accentuated stress and concern.

Yes, I feel guilty. But I have my prefrontal cortex and avoidant personality to blame for being somewhat immature about how I react. I’m only 24 right?…I’m not fully formed yet! I still have ONE WHOLE YEAR to get my act together, right?? Come on, brain....Anyway, on that day in the café, I just did not want to talk about it. As much as I tried to circumvent the heavy topic during our last meal together, the steering wheel always jolted left towards an impending doomsday.

Mother: “So……….*long silence*………….wha..what….what about, you know…rape? Does that happen down there?”


Me: “Yes, mom. It happens anywhere, and everywhere.”


Long silence.


Mother: “…how often do people get robbed down there? Like what is the percentage? Where did it happen to your friends?”


Me: “Mooooooooom.”


Long silence.

And so on. Though I can’t fault her for caring, I didn’t feel like spending my last moments together talking about rape prevention. Unless one could find a way to flavor their food with pepper spray, I can’t think of a way that conversation could build an appetite.

Soon enough, a squeaky waitress called out a mispronounced “DYE-YANNA!” and guided us to a table in the corner back room. The walls, mustard yellow, were decorated with dried plants and the air smelled of tattooed beardos. Ok, fine, it smelled like delicious omelets and tall stacks of pancakes…but I do swear that beardos have a distinct smell. Might it be the oil they use to tame those facial beasts?

It was a bit chilly from the outdoor air blustering in through the doors. Customers ate still bundled in scarves, hats and puffy jackets. The ceiling tall windows melted with condensation just enough for us to catch glimpses of passing-by cars spraying brown snow onto the bordering sidewalk. A small drizzle coated the parked cars, the windshields glazed in ice.  

We sat down and a very kind and gentle beardo took our order. Not ironically, my mom and I asked for the exact same thing—a Greek Omelet with sourdough toast, potatoes and seared lamb. We sipped coffee and took turns warming up our icy fingers on the warm ceramic mug. Conversation dwindled as our patience shortened for the food we watched other tables enjoy. Suddenly, I perked up as I heard something across the way:

“Si, soy Colombiano, pero my ascento es mas differente que…”

Eyebrows perked, I scooted up to the edge of my seat. It was like I became a dog who had sniffed out an underground bone. My Spanish wasn’t good enough to completely follow the conversation, but I was able to pick up enough to know that the three people sitting and eating next to us were, indeed, Colombianos.

Indeed, I was taken aback. In less than 24 hours, I would be getting on a plane to begin my South American adventures in Colombia. Now here I was in the most whitey hipster beardo early-afternoon-red-wine-drinking-establishment I could think of, and three native Colombians sat discussing Colombian culture and current events right across from me. I couldn’t help but tuck my ear out from behind my hat and begin a-creepin. Excitedly, I whispered to my mom that the people next to us were Colombiano.

“Let’s talk to them!” she exclaimed

“NO!” I expediently remarked. (I was afraid she would start asking them about the incessant safety questions).

“Why!!…” she responded.

I argued with her. And I also wanted to keep creeping.

“Okay.” She complied.

We received our steaming omelets and ate in quiet. The check came and went. I stared at her, as if saying, “don’t do it…do…not…do…it”—a throwback to some ten years ago when behavior like such was common practice.

My mom smirked and whipped her body around:

“Hey, are you guys from Colombia!?”

The two women and one man turned to face us. My face went bright red. Please don’t ask about rape, murder, or kidnapping, please, please please, I reiterated in my head.

The male spoke up—

“Yes! I am from Medellin, born and raised. My friends here are from Cali and Bogota.”

I intercepted my mom to take over the conversation.

“Wow! Actually, tomorrow I will be flying in with hopes of staying for an extended time.”

And so the conversation began. We learned that both of the Colombian women were studying at Michigan State University, and the male, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at MSU. All three spoke of the country with such fondness as if remembering in their mind’s eye a deceased friend. They missed the country a lot, which comforted me.

“My brother lives in Medellin, and he owns a hostel. I can give you his contact information and he can show you around the city—to keep you safe.”

“Wow, that would be amazing! Thank you so much. Se lo agradezco mucho! Gracias.”

After a few city recommendations and the comedic relief of watching the three of them argue over which city is “el mejor,” we thanked each other and parted ways. With Colombian contact info in hand, I reached the parking lot and just had to stop for a moment and smile…

I leaned against the iced over car window and thought tenderly about what had just happened.

This is not a coincidence, Deanna.

For years now, I have chosen to indulge in the Universe’s short one liners, its leftover Easter eggs, its sarcastic or too-coincidental succession of events. Some are small. Say, someone texted me at the exact moment I thought about them. Or, perhaps I just happened to meet someone who completely turned my world and all of its contents upside down when I needed it most. Or maybe I simply manifested a parking spot by praying for one.

But this, my friends, was so blatant. It was in no way enigmatic. This was as clear concise as a newborn’s smile, and it happened for a reason. Though not outwardly religious, I can sense and feel God in these moments, and that feels pretty damn good. 

Basically, what I retrieved from this encounter was that:


Might these sort of things happened to Bob Marley when he sang


Every little thing


Is gonna be alright??


Maybe so...


Xo D

Tags: alright, be, colombia, everything, going, is, to, travels

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