Always remember that the most important thing in a good marriage is not happiness, but stability.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
We arrive on Monday afternoon. The hotel is more like an apartment complex, the whole family (both sides) live here in different rented apartments, from floor 9 to floor 36. We arrive late for the dinner that is planned and I’m not hungry, but happy to see the whole family again. Tuesday is spent on Barú, an island with the nicest and warmest water I have ever seen. We ride banana boats and doughnut boats and jetskis, recieve massages and eat fish. The boys snorkel and play football. On Tuesday the bachelorette party happens and it’s not only my first one but also super funny and we all have a great time.
On Wednesday we leave early to go to Totumo, a village with a mud volcano that you can bathe in. It feels weird, to know that the volcano goes 2km deep but you can’t sink. The mud gets caught between my toes, behind my ears and on my shoulderblades but the women from the village are more than happy to help you wash yourself – if you pay. We do and it really helps to get it all off.
Tuesday is spent with wedding rehearsals and another dinner, pool time and chilling with my american cousin on the 29th floor, stealing the neighbour’s wifi. I also spend a lot of time lying on my parent’s bed just watching the ocean. Everyone is already excited for the next, big day.
The big day starts off with a hair/make-up/manipedi appointment with the bride, la corte and the friends. I decide to get french nails with golden stripes, blue smokey eyes and a braided bun with a lot of volume. I have a bit of translation problems, but my sister’s friends help me. It feels exciting. My sister already looks gorgeous but nervous as hell.
I get home quite early and get dressed. We spent the next hours in the wedding suite, getting my sister ready for her big day. Only once I catch a glimpse of Carlos who is, just like the tradition wants, on the other side of the wall, not able to see his wife.
The club looks beautiful and the whole wedding is a real success. I can’t stop crying after the ceremony. Everyone smiles. The rain is a blessing and no one complains about having to go inside. Both cultures are combined beautifully. The european parts experiences south american traditions like the hora loca while the south americans see how personalised weddings can be. We cry at my dad’s speech and we laugh at my brother’s video. We dance. We celebrate the love that has survived the world.
Saturday is spent just chilling at the beach and pool, laughing about insider jokes that have been created and memories that won’t be forgotten. People have gotten closer together and promise to stay in touch. Two families are now one. Everyone slowly starts to pack again, to keep traveling – plans are changed last minute, even mine.
I decide to abandon my parent’s plans to go to a tiny village in the countryside and convince them to let me go back to Barranquilla with my american part of the family. The agree on my plans and I spend two hours photographing cartagena from the 29th floor in the hazy morning light. And again, I feel the slightly unfamiliar, long forgotten feeling of motivation and excitement running through my veins.
I feel inspired.