EXPLORING CARTAGENA & SEEING MY FAMILY AFTER 10+ YEARS!

During the second half of my trip to Colombia, the Journey group and I headed to a nearby island called Tierra Bomba, this is called the integration part of the Journey where we get to relax, reflect and get to know one another on a deeper level. We also got to explore the island, take part in fun activities and sip Cartagena Mules by the pool, this was our drink of choice, it fell from the heavens and tasted like magic! We stayed at a lovely beach house type hotel called Blue Apple, and my goodness, the stay was delightful. We were all feeling mounds of gratitude during our integration, specially after the Home Build that took place the days before (you can read about that here). Personally, I had a few moments were I questioned why I was there, why I was given this amazing opportunity. It is hard to explain but I felt guilty for experiencing the luxury and comforts around me, I guess the contrast of the Home Build and this part of the trip was undeniable, so a lot of emotions kept coming up. We formed bonds and developed long time friendships during the Home Build and our down time at Tierra Bomba, the experiences we shared are truly unforgettable. I have to give a shout out to an amazing group of women who have welcomed me with open arms and have offered not only their unconditional friendship but also support after a very emotional, eye opening experience. You guys know who you are, I adore you all and I feel honored to call you my friends. 

After Tierra Bomba, I headed back to Cartagena to meet with my mom, aunt and grandma! Gosh, I was so very excited and eager to get to them once we left Blue Apple because I had not seen them in 10+ years! Yes! Over ten years without seeing either of them. The reason we did not see each other for such a long time was because of the situation in Venezuela, just after the last time I visited, the country started deteriorating rapidly, it was unsafe for me to visit and since then the situation has gotten progressively worse. About a year and a half ago, Steve and I helped my mom move to Colombia to stat over and try to make a life for herself there, so she was already in Colombia when I arrived and both my aunt and grandma arrived by plane a few days before. It was such a special moment to walk in and see them, almost surreal, we were overcome with joy. We spent the next few days talking (a lot! haha) catching up, exploring Cartagena, and just enjoying every moment. I feel so very fortunate to have had that time, we all needed it, for so many reasons. Mom and I talked and we both said how it did not feel like ten years, we just picked right up. We do talk most days but it was a really great feeling. I am still completely overwhelmed with gratitude. 

For those of you wondering about the magical Cartagena Mules, here it goes: vodka, watermelon juice (natural, no sugar or any funny business), lime and ginger. That is it, but please please give them a try, you'll thank me later, haha. I'm considering having a Cartagena Mule party soon, we'll see!

Thank you for letting me share this experience with you guys. Please enjoy a few photos below.