This morning my Colombian-Norwegian friend Andrés departed after staying with me both here in Bogotá and in Villa de Leyva, my favorite colonial town in Boyacá, since Saturday. Today he's hoping to meet his birth mother for the first time, and Friday, after several months of living in Risaralda and teaching English there, he heads back to Norway for good. We'll miss him.
We returned yesterday evening from a mini-vacation to Villa de Leyva with my friends Dina, Kevin, Laura, Tiffany, and Roger, after celebrating the religious holiday día de las velitas, when everyone comes out of their homes to fill the streets and plazas with lit candles, and since it's Colombia, when spectacular fireworks displays take place right in the center of town, in the middle of huge crowds of people. Really safe.
We stayed in a gorgeous hostel on a hillside and enjoyed some wonderful boyacense food, as well as some tasty drinks like masato,and we did some sightseeing in the lovely historic town.
The rest of my weekend was spent preparing for my upcoming (two days left!) trip to the Amazon with my friends Laura and Tiffany who will be coming with me on the trip. We purchased lots of insect repellent of course, along with comfy lightweight clothing to keep our skin covered and protected from mosquitoes and other creepy-crawlies. We even got new backpacks to comfortably carry all of our things in while we travel!
And we spent a lot of time cooking- the kitchen is probably my favorite feature of the new house. Laura helped me move furniture I purchased into my house on Saturday and our friends came and joined us for a lovely meal of gypsy soup with homemade bread. Sunday morning we made crepes and pancakes with bananas foster, fresh strawberries, strong coffee, and fruit juice. We spent the afternoon shopping for Christmas gifts in Usaquén, and Laura and Andres found just what they were looking for! Later we made a delicious squash-and-lentil curry with homemade naan, which we made another garlicky batch of to take with us on the bus to Villa de Leyva.
Making fresh fruit juices every morning is becoming a tradition in the house- we enjoyed kiwi juice with our breakfast today.
This is one of the things I've come to appreciate most about Colombia, and the other thing I'm most grateful for this christmas is my friends here. What a great week!