Posts Tagged With: Bogota. Colombia

Meet My Mercutio – A True Firework!

Mercutio is one of my favorite characters in William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.  He is a jokester; that through Romeo finds his free-spirited, privileged lifestyle challenged and pays dearly.  Well my Mercutio’s life was a challenge, he began his life paying dearly, but has now found his affable personality and I pray soon his rewards.  His mother was the mistress of a married man.  He, his brother and sister were known to his father’s family, but were scorned because of how they were made related.  His mother was the anchor to this family with their detached father.  He was marked with his father’s good looks, making the father’s family despise him even more.

His mother made great effort to make their family life the best she could with little help from their father.  But she truly loved the father of her children and accepted their place as the “other” family.  His father died when he was 7, leaving him conflicted because of the love and the hate he had for his father.  The death of a parent at this tender age would be difficult for anyone.  Now even the little help from the father was gone.

The struggling family was strong, creating a very unique closeness.  His mother became sick.  She had cancer.  His siblings were there for him, but he was the one that was there for his mother.  His mother did not want him to leave university for the unimaginable task – caring for her as she was dying.  As she grew sicker, this teenager was not afforded the care free bliss most teenagers know.  The more debilitated she became, the more resolved he became.  In his heart knew he was doing what only he could do – truly care for his dying mother as she had always cared for him.  He cleaned soiled bed linens, cooked and tried all a young man could do to comfort his mother.  All the while keeping up with his studies in his Engineering program at university.  But even the efforts and love of this young man could not save his mother and she acquiesced her final breath.

I had chatted with Mercutio online for some time without knowing this story.  I already had an admiration for his dedication and loyalty to his employer.  He had been working for weeks without pay because his boss was having a tough time financially.  Mercutio was putting himself through university and was already struggling financially, but remained faithful to his employer when I think few would.  He continued long hours without complaining because he knew again, he was doing what he needed to be doing.

When I met Mercutio for the first time in person, he was shy, quite, but very pleasant to be around for a 21 year-old.  This story was told over several beers.  I felt a cold dagger in my heart because I could not conceive such a tough road at such a young age.  He is a beautiful young man and I saw an essential need for him to tell his story.  I knew I was in a small club, few had heard this story from him.  We never talked much about his history again because seeing his smiling face – shit eating grin – I knew I did not want to ask him back down his dark childhood memories.  I only would mention it to express my admiration.

I recently wrote I Am A Firework. This young man is one of the people who ignites my spark, to let my colors burst.  He owns the night like the 4th of July.  There are few people in this world that deserve to shine more than this young man. He has shown what he is worth and leaves me in awe!  This past August, Mercutio graduated from University with a degree in engineering.  Meeting people like Mercutio is why I so enjoy my gypsy lifestyle.  Mercutio’s determination helps drive me when dealing with my set backs because of Multiple Sclerosis.  I am proud of Mercutio.  His dark days are behind him, his care free days are ahead of him – just opposite the character Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet.  My Mercutio is truly a FIREWORK!!

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A Day at Cerro de Monserrate

I have lived in Bogotá for more than 3 months and visited a total of 4 months before moving here.  So, after more than 7 months in Bogotá, I finally felt good enough to go visit one of the top tourist attractions in Bogotá – Cerro de Monserrate.  Cerro de Monserrate translates as Monserate Hill.  Now where I am from, Monserrate is much more than a hill (lol) it is a mountain.  Monserrate is part of the Eastern mountain ranges of The Andes.  So I would have named it Montaña de Monserrate (Monserrate Mountain), but they did not ask me!

My friend Ricardo was visiting from Cali, Colombia and since I had someone who could help my old, disabled ass… I was finally able to visit!  There are 3 ways to get to the top: 1, Pilgrimage – walk up the mountain (not going to happen!!); 2, Funicular – Train up tracks on the mountain (not running this day) and 3, Cable Railway – A sky-ride on cables to the top (fastest and easiest).     So off on the cable railway we go.  As the cable car ascends… the enormity of the city of Bogotá starts to become obvious.  The top of Monserrate is at an elevation of over 10,000 feet (3152 meters), that is almost 2 miles above sea level. The city of Bogotá is at 8,600 could be called the 1.5 mile high city!!  The views are AWESOME! (http://www.cerromonserrate.com/eng_files/index_eng.html)

Atop the mountain is a sanctuary, a monastery, the remains of a previous sanctuary, restaurants and flea market style shopping for souvenirs.  There is park like landscaping with flowers that bloom constantly because of the relatively constant spring like temperatures.  Along with the beautifully landscaped trail are viacrucis (sculptures) that commemorates the events of Christ’s walk to the crucifixion.  For me, the beauty speaks more of God than all the religious “stuff”…but it is a location with a history of people making religious pilgrimages.  I was able to experience a clean, freeing energy here and will plan a return just to spend time relaxing and enjoying the views and positive energy.

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A Cold, Multiple Sclerosis, and Kidney Stones!

I have had a cold for the last few days, my Multiple Sclerosis is very active and last night I passed a kidney stone.  Because of the bitterly cold weather at my parent’s (and other U.S. locations), I dare not say it got cold here…. but it did get much cooler than usual for Bogotá standards and I am blaming that on my getting a cold.  My MS has had my legs weaker than usual and my balance has caused me to fall a couple of times in the apartment.  So with two things kicking my ass, why not a third?  I have had kidney stones 4 times before and this must have been a small one because it did pass in one night, but the pain was very familiar!  My Colombian health insurance has a 30 day waiting period and I am only on day 4 so I self medicated with Dolex (Colombian Tylenol).  Once maybe twice a year I have issues with kidney stones and do not find it any easier when they return.  I did survive and my friend David was handy just in case I decided to try the uninsured visit to the emergency room.

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