I found this while looking through old files. This is how I used to write.
Medellin, Martes 10 Junio 1997
I am finally relaxed after departing Houston for the Great South America. It's the first time in my life that I've come to this vast continent which until now has been a total mystery to me.
Today I look forward to sight reading piano duets with a young professor of music at the University of Antiogua, a pianist I met a few nights ago at a Jewish/Catholic civil wedding dinner here in Medellin. He was playing with a saxophonist as a regular party duo.
When I'm on holiday, far away from work, I reflect upon my life, or rather, my recent life. Where shall I start? My life has been so eventful lately. There's a yearning to capture all of my 14 months in the US in some diary or a novel of sorts. This all culminated in one fantastic twelve hour farewell party in my palace of an apartment on 30 May 1997 in Houston, Texas.
My mother visited the next day with the intention of helping me pack. With her helping me, I felt relieved of a panic which otherwise would have stricken me with indecision. Packing is a necessary but undesirable process --- a kind of cleansing, a closure, but also a time of decision making.
The problem with doing the packing myself is that of delay due to sentimentalisation. Each possession tells a story. I've had to part with three of my designer suits because they no longer fit. Luckily they suited my mother very well. How could our material possessions "own" us so much? It's not materialism but that they are part of us, part of our history and existence, extensions of our selves if you will. Combine this view with environmentalism (re-use, reduce, recycle) and you have a dilemma when it comes to parting and packing.
My well-rehearsed damsel in distress act invited a knight in shining armour to help us to stuff the Panasonic compact stereo system into boxes and carry my heavy suitcases to the car. Here was a tall lawyer, divorced with two kids, studying for an MBA, who was available just when I had underestimated the task at hand.
For as long as I can remember, my mother has been hoping in vain that I'd settle down but my track record has been to meet such fine gentlemen at the end of my journey rather than at the beginning. And with parting being such sweet sorrow why should I take the plunge? Such fleeting encounters are at least suggestive of possibilities ahead though elsewhere. Still I am a natural damsel in distress.
I am in lying in a hammock in a hacienda in Colombia as I write this. I thought Clemencia was exaggerating when she told me that her family owned 600 cows on an 800 acre farm in the mountains. Isaac took a count with others on horseback yesterday. 780 cows!
It took three hours in a jeep through the mountains beyond Medellin, the second largest city, to get to this hacienda. Along the way we passed many trucks and cars on a curvy single lane road. This marked the epitome of reckless, seatbelt-free, lawless country.
The two storey house in the hacienda is amazing. It is surrounded by outdoor plants that are giant versions of my indoor houseplants.
Probably the most spectacular experience for me was horseback riding on the mountain terrains. What sheer expanse of breathtaking beauty! This is when one becomes envious of the cows and horses grazing in the pastures. Such simplicity and yet such beauty! The horse who carried me was seven months pregnant. I was afraid to provoke her or to hurt her, and as a first-timer I couldn't get her to move any faster.
Once back at the hacienda, I jumped into the outdoor swimming pool, delighted to be at one with nature.
20 August 2004 Friday