The purest streams of air and the smell of fresh tropical fruit were the underlying themes of my summers spent in one of the most beautiful countries in South America. Every year, from the beginning of June to the end of August I would live with my grandparents as if it were a sleep away camp, except much more exotic than your average one.
Every morning I would wake up to the smell of Colombian coffee aroma making its way through the house. This would mean it was 7am and there was an arepa with a square of cheese on top, sunny side up egg, and a freshly made blackberry juice all waiting for me. But before I could get my day started, I watched TV with my grandpa or listen to his wildly funny jokes before he went off to work. Once my breakfast settled in, I would knock on my best friend’s door and with similar lifestyles to no surprise he was ready to take on the day by the time I got there. Our days were spent biking, fishing, kite-flying, playing soccer, selling candy anything that could bring excitement to us we would do it. We invented games if we had to even. Lunch was always a family event, everyday my two aunts, uncles and cousins would eat at my grandmas whatever she had been preparing since the start of the day with our house keeper. It was the highlight of my day, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Nothing was better than having a two hour lunch every day with the extended family and having a great time, it was priceless. After getting called in at 12:30pm for lunch and eating I would resume my daily activities until it I physically couldn’t move or was too tired to swing my leg back to hit a soccer ball.
There was always so much to do in the city, one of my favorite things to do was go to a bakery that overlooked the city and had an amazing view of the local team’s soccer stadium. You could also go to the main strip in the heart of the city and walk around which was great too. The best part would be the pop-up mango sale on a cart. That was my favorite day snack. I could get a mango in the form of spaghetti doused in lime juice, salt and pepper – so fresh and delicious. Manizales is a vibrant city where every block is packed with restaurants, outdoor dining and seeing people enjoy their time with one another.
Though I couldn’t stretch my days out more to have time to do more things, I couldn’t wait until the weekend hit. Since Friday I would help my grandma pack for our weekend getaway with the extended family at our coffee farm in the outskirts of the city. All the cousins, aunts and uncles would be there as well. The usual lunch (everyone’s favorite) would be steak cooked over a charcoal grill giving it that unmistakable taste. While the adults were cooking, I was either playing a pick-up soccer game with my cousins or in the cold refreshing pool relaxing and taking in the sun. I enjoyed my time in the pool as it was on the highest part of the land and overlooked hundreds of acres of land and plantations. It was where the freshest air would hit and right next to all the fruit trees we had surrounding the pool. As I got hungry I would either go to the mango tree or to the mandarin tree depending on my appetite and eat the fruit right off the vain. When I got thirsty I would go grab limes and ask my grandma to make me a fresh squeezed lemonade – something that simply could not be beat. At night when there was nothing to do outside, we would gather around our dining table and play cards until everyone would start yawning hinting that bedtime was near. As unfortunate as it was that the weekend would end, I would be excited to see what adventure would await me the coming week back in the city. I wish I could have my summers play on a loop to never have them end from how much I enjoyed my friends and family but I knew that it would always come back another time, each getting better. But for now, I have the Organic Giraldo Farms Coffee, which I get to enjoy its fresh aroma every morning as I prepare it to start my day. Giraldo Farms Coffee has that superb quality to it, while I sip on my cup the memories of my summers in Colombia and it’s lush mountains, the warmth of its people, the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee are not too far away.