Diaries Magazine

Traveling with Grandma

By Danielleabroad @danielleabroad
Hola, darlings. I hope Friday's been treating you well. As promised, I'm going to reflect on what it was like to travel throughout Colombia with my grandmother for three weeks. How did the adventure come to be? Well, one year ago I decided I should visit the country where much of my family originated (especially being that I've already been to Mexico and Ireland). A few months later, I realized I'd acquired enough JetBlue points for a free roundtrip flight. I spoke to my grandma about my plans soon after. She expressed she'd loved to join, but was worried about leaving with my great grandmother's health in question. Then, my great grandmother passed. There was nothing left to do but reserve our tickets. traveling with grandma My grandma and I have a pretty incredible relationship. We've spent a lot of time together, and even now, I'll spend the day with her and sometimes sleepover. I can talk to her about anything and she'll listen, understand, and offer some wisdom. And yes, she does spoil me; when I was a little girl and my mom wouldn't buy me a little something I "needed," my grandma was the first on the checkout line. My mom wasn't much of a fan of this habit, but I knew she was doing it out of love. On my birthday, she said, "Oh, Daniela, happy birthday. The day you were born... now that was a wonderful day," as she hugged me. I was her first grandchild. traveling with grandma The stories filtered out of her as soon as we touched down in Bogotá. She told me of how her family struggled financially when she was a child; she told me of how secretly artistic her father was: he was a talented singer and wrote poetry with beautiful penmanship; she told me her cousin loved to dance so much, they once skipped school to spend the day dancing with their friends; she told me of how her sister convinced her to go out for empanadas one afternoon, and how only after eating two each, did she realize neither of them had any money; she told me of how hard her first factory job was in the United States... and that she'd only been 16 then; she told me of how her youngest sister begged her to accompany her to a church dance one night, and how it was there that she met my grandfather. We're close enough that we can be silly together, and she'll let me take pictures of her as she's eating an oblea (two thin, crispy, wafer-like cookies with arequipe, otherwise known as dulce de leche in the middle). So, what was it like traveling with grandma? Kind of really awesome. At 76, she certainly didn't have the energy to do quite as much as I wanted to do at times, but I just worked as she rested. During one of our last heart-to-hearts of the trip, she said to me, "Sometimes I think I have regrets, but when I look back, I realize that I wouldn't have rather made different choices. There is no life I can imagine wanting more than the one I have right now." I think that means she had a good time, too :).

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