Mid-February, we stepped off the plane in Colombia and were immediately swept up by Cartagena. Within minutes of leaving the airport all of my senses were invigorated: the smell of the sea, the cozy feel of humidity, the colors of the buildings, the sounds of the streets and the sweet taste of mango. The energy within the city walls was electric. It made me feel more alive, more present. Our time spent there brought me back to myself. It encouraged me to refocus on what is most important: family, friends, meaningful connections and purpose. On our first morning we wandered the colorful streets as we made our way to Casa Pestagua, where we found Alexis and Edwin. It was at this point that the reality of the weekend sank in. Not only were we here in Cartagena to celebrate Alexis and Edwin, but we were here to celebrate along with some of our nearest and dearest friends. If I had to imagine heaven, it'd be a lot like our time in Cartagena—days spent in a beautiful setting, surrounded by your favorite people with the shared intention of celebration, all the while getting to do a job that you love with the person you love most.
Oh, I could go on and on about this wedding weekend, about how humbling it was to have witnessed Alexis' and Edwin's families share their cultures, American and Colombian, with one another; about riding a chiva (party) bus through Cartagena next to the mother of the bride as we laughed hysterically and danced on cue; about how moving, heartfelt and real the vows Alexis and Edwin shared were; about how special it was to reconnect with some of my oldest friends; about how ridiculously fun the reception was, or how grateful I am for the sweet friendship that has grown between Alexis and myself. I have so much to say but what it would all be explaining is that this experience healed parts of my heart that had been aching for a long time. This wedding, the place, the people, Alexis and Edwin reminded me of what is most important at a moment when I truly needed it.
This is the story of that day in the best way I know how to tell it.